Time Management Tips, Tools, and Apps for Adult Learners

Time management is an essential skill that every student can benefit from mastering. On the surface, it seems deceptively simple — just keep an eye on the calendar, right? — but once the assignments begin to pile up, the difficulty starts to increase. For students who are raising children, going to work, serving in the military, or caring for family members, effective time management becomes even more challenging — and even more vital to success.

Just how vital? In one national survey, over 48 percent of college students who participated reported not having enough time to complete their coursework. In the same survey, a whopping 87 percent of students — nearly nine out of every 10 polled — reported that “better time management and organization skills would help them get better grades.” More recently, research published in 2019 concluded that, even though “time management is associated with greater academic performance and lower levels of anxiety in students,” there are still “many students [who] find it hard to find a balance between their studies and their day-to-day lives.”

If you’re struggling to stay on top of your schedule, you certainly aren’t alone. Fortunately, technology is on your side. There are dozens of affordable time management apps designed to help college students get organized, increase productivity, and combat procrastination. While you may need to experiment with a few different options at first, you’re sure to eventually find at least one app with features and a layout that works for you. If you think that your grades — or your stress level — could benefit from better task organization, read on to see six of the best apps for student time management.

Get Organized with 6 of the Best Time Management Apps for Students and Adult Learners

All of the apps on the list below are completely free to download and use, though each offers premium versions or bonus features for a one-time fee or subscription cost, which will be indicated where applicable. We’ve also included key information about each app, including its star rating, developer, unique features, and compatibility details, current as of August 2020. Of course, since developers are releasing new apps all the time — typically over 100,000 per month for Android releases alone, according to data compiled by Statista — it’s a good idea to periodically check the App Store for the latest, most up-to-date selection.

App #1: 2Do – Todo List, Tasks & Notes

Ideal for visual learners thanks to its use of color-coding, 2Do allows users to create and manage task lists, easily capture ideas with its Quick Add feature, and filter tasks using tags.

  • Rating — 4.7/5 stars (over 2,600 ratings)
  • Developer — Beehive Innovations Services
  • Compatibility — iOS 10.3 or later, Android
  • Cost — Free, with optional in-app purchases ranging from $1.99 to $19.99

App #2: Any.do

A popular task-planning app with more than 25 million users, Any.do uses tags, reminders, calendars, and bulleted lists to organize and tackle to-dos. It can also connect with more than 2,000 apps, making integration easy and seamless.

  • Rating — 4.6/5 stars (over 28,800 ratings)
  • Developer — Any.DO
  • Compatibility — iOS 11.0 or later, Android
  • Cost — Free, with optional in-app purchases and plans ranging from $2.99 to $59.99

App #3: Evernote

Ranked in the top 100 productivity apps, Evernote allows users to take notes, scan documents, build calendars, create to-do lists, and even search their own handwriting for specific terms.

  • Rating — 4.5/5 stars (over 27,100 ratings)
  • Developer — Evernote
  • Compatibility — iOS 11.0 or later, Android
  • Cost — Free, with optional plus and premium plans ranging from $2.99 to $44.99

App #4: myHomework Student Planner

Ranked in the top 200 education apps, myHomework offers neatly grouped, color-coded lists of assignments, which can be viewed by class, priority, or type. Users can also see reminders and notifications, making forgotten assignments a thing of the past.

  • Rating — 4.6/5 stars (over 2,700 ratings)
  • Developer — Rodrigo Neri
  • Compatibility — iOS 8.0 or later, Android
  • Cost — Free, with optional in-app purchases and plans ranging from $0.99 to $4.99

App #5: MyLifeOrganized 3

MyLifeOrganized 3, MLO’s latest version, lets users “create unlimited tasks and subtasks,” automatically generate prioritized task lists, and even view tasks in graph format.

  • Rating — 4.8/5 stars (over 160 ratings)
  • Developer — Andriy Tkachuk
  • Compatibility — iOS 9.0 or later, Android
  • Cost — Free, with optional in-app upgrades ranging from $9.99 to $29.99

App #6: Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk allows users to create, organize, and share to-do lists, which can be broken down into specific subtasks. Users can also set due dates or deadlines, making it easier to stay on top of their calendars.

  • Rating — 4.7/5 stars (over 3,100 ratings)
  • Developer — Remember the Milk
  • Compatibility — iOS 11.0 or later, Android
  • Cost — Free, with an optional premium plan available for $39.99

5 Effective Time Management Tips for College Students

Building stronger organizational habits can set you up for not just scholastic success, but success in the workplace. While apps can certainly help you better monitor your time management, there are some tried-and-true tips for time management that don’t rely on technology. Keep these five simple yet effective time management tips in mind to get the best possible results out of your new-and-improved productivity routine:

  1. Avoid multitasking — a strategy both researchers and business experts say is ineffective. Instead, focus on “monotasking.” Take time to weigh the importance of each task at the start of each day or week. Look to which tasks are the most mission-critical or time-sensitive and consider placing them first on your list. Or, if you see a task that is time-sensitive and relatively simple to complete, knock that one out first to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Create a daily or weekly to-do list — and stick to it. Reviewing your to-do list on a regular basis can help you stay focused and get a bigger picture for what you need to do!
  3. Remove distractions, such as text messages or Facebook notifications, by silencing your phone or using its “Do Not Disturb” feature.
  4. Set a clear, identifiable goal for each of your study sessions, such as reading a certain number of pages. Review your goals at the end of each study session. Did it take you longer than expected to read those pages? If so, reevaluate how you’re budgeting your time.
  5. Try to start chiseling away at your assignments days or weeks before they are due — not the night before your deadline. Incremental progress adds up over time.

5 More Time Management Tools for National University Students

At National University, we’re committed to providing a challenging, yet supportive environment designed to empower students. We offer a range of helpful time management resources, including online tools, to help undergraduates, graduate students, and military students make the most out of their education.

NU Online Time Management Tools for Students

The National University library system features a comprehensive online time management resource center for students. There, you’ll find an assortment of videos, daily planner worksheets, infographics, help guides, e-books, additional apps, and even time management calculators, all designed to make planning your schedule easier and more efficient.

NU Student Academic Success Center

Our Student Academic Success Center, or SASC, offers numerous services targeted toward enhancing your professional, personal, and of course, academic growth. To contact the National University SASC, call (858) 642-8290.

NU Student Concierge Services

Think of Student Concierge Services as your convenient, 24/7, one-stop-shop for help with all aspects of your academic career. Get answers to questions about admissions, graduation, financial aid, and more — any time of day or night. Simply call (866) 628-8988 for around-the-clock phone support.

Study Tips for Adult Learners at NU

Searching for more ideas on how to stay focused, productive, and organized? Check out our college study tips for adult learners, or learn about tips for staying motivated in college.

Explore Our Student Services Resource Center

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Explore our comprehensive Student Services portal, or contact an enrollment advisor for personalized, one-on-one guidance.

Now that you’re equipped with flexible time tracking apps, dozens of student resources, and practical tips for staying productive, you’re well on your way to mastering the art of successful time management.

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