Time Management

Time management is critical in medical school. Learning to manage time so that you can get work done and still have some time for yourself is an essential skill that once mastered will greatly benefit your life as a medical student.

Consider the following suggestions that can help you balance your semester and your workload effectively.

  • Use a schedule to organize your time
    • Make a schedule or time management plan to help you organize and structure your study time. Work when you plan to do so and stick to it.
    • Develop blocks of study time. Blocks should be designated for your best study time, or when you are most productive.
    • Be sure to include free time in your schedule. Most people tend to only include fixed time (studying, chores, exercise, etc.) and forget to include personal time.
  • Plan for Study Breaks
    • Medical school is loaded with particularly difficult material- this may require more frequent breaks.
  • Be realistic
    • As you adjust to a new study schedule, note how you are wasting your time and estimate the realistic amount of time needed to complete a task or chore, compare it to how long it actually takes.
    • Make sure your goals are within reach. Try not to over-load your schedule with unproductive tasks and time.
  • Learn how to study
    • Studying can be a source of stress for many students. Figure out what study methods are most effective for you and how long it takes to succeed. (If you are struggling with your current study skills you can always contact the Learning Specialist for help.)
  • Prioritize
    • Make a list of what is important to you and the way you spend your time to really reflect the important things in your life. This different for everyone based on preference and natural abilities.
  • Use your free-time wisely
    • Even with a tight schedule you can still find pockets of free time. It might be hard to come up with things to do- you can create a "to-do list" based on how much free time you have (items you can include are laundry, pre-reading, grocery shopping, taking notes, etc.)

Time Management Worksheet


Below is a sample of a time management plan from a currently enrolled medical student

Activity Time Percentage Pi Chart of Weekly Spend with percentages
Eating 1.75 7%
Sleeping 6 25%
Cooking 1 4%
Showering 0.25 1%
Chores 0.3 1%
Class 5 21%
Exercise 0.5 2%
Reading 0.25 1%
Study 5 21%
Socializing 1.5 6%
Flex 2.45 10%
24 24

Activity Time Percentage Pi Chart of Weeklend Spend with percentages
Eating 1.75 7%
Sleeping 6.5 27%
Cooking 2 8%
Showering 0.25 1%
Chores 2 8%
Class 0 0%
Exercise 1 4%
Reading 0.5 2%
Study 6 25%
Socializing 2 8%
Flex 2 8%
24 24

Strategy for doing well: Identify learning objectives, merge classroom learning with cross ref. to outside res. (First AID/Pathoma).


  • Attend at least 95% of classes
  • Attend 100% of PBL sessions
  • Attend 100% of review sessions
  • Review notes post-lecture
  • ID one outside resc. and stick to it. -> First Aid
  • Cross Ref. Lecture material to First Aid