7 Tips to Master Time Management in Nursing School

Nursing school students taking a short break

Nursing school is demanding and requires considerable time and effort. When pursuing your nursing degree such as an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN), balancing various responsibilities, like classes, clinical rotations, studying, completing assignments and managing your time, can be more difficult.

One study found that nearly two-thirds of college students had moderate procrastination habits, and the growing distractions from technology and social media have only worsened this trend.1 Chronic procrastination can lead to missed deadlines and increased stress levels, leaving you having to play catch-up.

You must practice effective time management to ensure your success in nursing school and beyond. Staying on task can reduce stress, improve your grades and build a foundation of good habits that carry over to your nursing career. Learn why time management is essential in nursing school and discover seven helpful tips to improve your time management skills.

In This Article:

Why Is Time Management Important in Nursing School?

Effective time management in nursing school is critical for success because it allows students to prioritize their tasks, allocate enough time to each activity, and meet deadlines. Practicing good time management during nursing school leads to good time management skills later in your nursing career.

Nursing school is and should be a priority, but balancing your other activities — job, family and friends, exercise and relaxation — is vital to avoid distractions and FOMO (fear of missing out). The best way to make time for all these crucial facets of your life while staying focused on nursing school is to carefully manage your time.

7 Useful Tips for Better Time Management in Nursing School

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” His time management mantra fits well for nursing students, who must juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities in both the classroom and clinical setting. Here are seven tips to improve your time management in nursing school:

  1. Prioritize tasks: Rank your to-do list by urgency, due date and importance. Focus on completing important tasks first and leave other less urgent items for later.
  2. Create a schedule: Use a planner or calendar to map your week, including class schedules, study time, clinical rotations and personal commitments. Set realistic deadlines for assignments and study goals.
  3. Plan ahead: Prepare for the day by reviewing class schedules and anticipating potential roadblocks. Also, look at upcoming assignments and exams. This approach can help you avoid last-minute cramming and reduce stress.
  4. Take short breaks: To reduce stress and increase productivity, take short breaks throughout the day. Try a walk, meditation or listening to music to recharge.
  5. Stay organized: Keep your study materials, notes and textbooks organized to avoid wasting time searching for information.
  6. Manage distractions: Avoid checking social media, email or notifications during study time. Consider turning off your phone or using an app to block distractions. You can also close doors, wear headphones or post a sign that you are unavailable.
  7. Avoid multitasking: Focusing on each task, one at a time, can help you complete tasks more efficiently and reduce stress. Use a timer or a time-tracking app like Be Focused to alert you when it’s time for a break or to move on to another task.2

These tips can help nursing students manage their time more effectively, reduce stress and achieve success in their studies and clinical rotations. There is a link between time management and procrastination, which chronically affects half of college students, and there are many methods to overcome your procrastination tendencies.3

How To Cope and Reduce Stress in Nursing School

Being a nursing student is both physically and mentally demanding, so finding ways to reduce stress is critical for your health and the health of your patients. Taking preventative action by planning for downtime during your week, for things like hobbies and hanging with friends and family, will help you avoid burnout. Scheduling them also gives you something to look forward to as a reward for your hard work and dedication throughout the semester. 

Here are some tips to reduce stress:

  • Get a good night's sleep — at least seven hours — according to Sleep Foundation4
  • Get physical and mental exercise
  • Keep up with your hobbies
  • Meditate or do breathing exercises
  • Talk to family, friends or a professional when feeling stressed

Master Your Time Management

You’ve done it. You’re on your way to becoming a nurse. Making time for family, friends and the activities that keep you energized and focused helps you maintain balance while pursuing your nursing passion. If you can institute a few or all of these tips, you’ll quickly avoid temptations and distractions and keep on schedule by building smart habits. And by managing your time well, you'll avoid feeling overwhelmed and be better able to handle the stress as a student, which will carry you to your nursing career.

If you are ready to start your nursing career and want to learn more about earning a nursing degree like our accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, visit Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions page or fill out the form on this page.


1International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. (2022, Aug. 22). Smartphone Addiction among University Students in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prevalence, Relationship to Academic Procrastination, Quality of Life, Gender and Educational Stage. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved March 10, 2023.

2Guinness, H. (2022, April 6). The 5 best Pomodoro timer apps in 2022. Zapier. Retrieved March 10, 2023.

3Shatz, I. (n.d). Time Management and Procrastination: How They’re Connected and Why Emotions Matter Too. Solving Procrastination. Retrieved March 10, 2023.

4Suni, E. (2023, March 7). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Sleep Foundation. Retrieved March 10, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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