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Organization and Time Management

You may already have a job, family, and other commitments, and now you’ve added school to the list. Are there enough hours in the day? how is your Organization and Time Management

One way to answer this question is to take a serious look at how much time you spend working, sleeping, caring for your family, engaging in outside activities, and others. Ask yourself what could be consolidated, eliminated, or delegated to someone else to allow you more time for school.

Note: This section is modified from the SSPRNBSN of this same name.


  1. As a nurse, you already have many organizational and time-management skills that you put to use every day in your job. Think about your skills, and then click to view the answer.


View Answer


I once heard a story about filling a jar. A man placed several large rocks in the jar and decided it was full. A friend then added small stones that trickled down into the spaces surrounding the large rocks. The man stated that the jar was now full. His friend then added pebbles that settled into the spaces between the small stones, and again the man said the jar was full. His friend then added a large amount of sand to the jar. Again the man said the jar was full. Although the man didn’t see any room left in the jar, his friend poured water into the jar until there was truly no room left. The man and his friend both agreed that although the jar was not full when it only contained large rocks, it was certainly full now.

The jar is your time, and it has definite boundaries. You need to put in the largest items first. If the man filled the jar first with sand and water, there would have been no room for the large rocks.

What are your large rocks? Are they work, school, and family? Schedule the large rocks first. What are the small stones? Are they community activities and housework? What are the pebbles? What is the sand? What is the water? This exercise helps you prioritize your time according to the importance of each activity. Always do the most important items first so that they are sure to fit into your busy schedule.

When your jar is full, consider what can be delegated and placed in someone else’s jar. Also, think about what can be left until next week’s jar.


What are the large rocks, pebbles, sand, and water in my time jar?

Organization and time management are all about balance. No, you don’t need to fill every minute of every day. Sleep and self-care renew your energy and let you be more effective in your other activities. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Not only does this give you more time to accomplish your priorities, but you also let the helpers feel the satisfaction of knowing they are contributing to your success.

Get a planner if you don’t have one already. It can be paper or electronic; choose whatever format is better for you. Enter all the important events in your life, such as the following.

  • Work:You may have some control over your schedule, but usually the days and times when you work are determined by your employer.
  • Family and friends:Examples would be your children’s sporting events or your friend’s baby shower.
  • Special dates:These include holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.
  • School:Mark the due dates for graded assignments, such as discussion posts and assignment submissions. At the beginning of each week, scan the course to see what is coming up.

Parents often tell their children, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This is certainly true for online students! Because there is no class to attend at a certain time each week, it is easy to put off school work. Resist the temptation to procrastinate! Delaying may result in a snowball effect where you get more and more behind until it is impossible to catch up. Remember that tasks usually take longer than you would expect. Set aside time throughout the week to work on your coursework and assignments. You’ll be glad you did!

Your graded assignment due Week 2 is to create your personal Time Management Plan. Guidelines on how to complete this assignment, as well as a template (Microsoft Word) to type on, may be found in Course Resources.

Success in classes takes commitment of time. Learning activities include

  • studying;
  • assigned readings;
  • interacting with the online lesson;
  • composing discussion posts; and
  • completing homework and assignments.

Although the number of hours varies for each person and situation, studies have shown that for college courses, approximately 6 hours engaged in learning is suggested per credit hour per week (U.S. Government Publishing Office, 2017). Not every week may require the same time commitment. Looking ahead at large assignments and spreading out the work over a few weeks is strongly suggested.

You will determine how much time you will need to spend to do your best and learn. As you plan your schedule to best manage your time, consider how much time you need to do the assigned readings, interact with the online lesson, and read and develop discussion posts each week.

Pat’s Example

Pat is a student in NR351 who graduated from an ADN program 3 years ago. Pat works full-time on a med-surg unit at a local hospital. Pat has taken online courses previously and is confident in computer skills. Pat monitored time spent in Week 1 of NR351 and found the following.

Learning Activity Time Spent
Assigned Readings 30 minutes
Interacting with Online Lesson 30 minutes
Composing discussion posts 2.5 hours
Completing homework 2.5 hours
Work on Time Management Plan 1 hour
Participating in New Student Orientation (NSO) 1 hour
TOTAL 8 hours

Here is another example.

Charlie’s Example

Charlie is a student in NR351 who graduated from an ADN program 30 years ago. Charlie works full-time in home health nursing. Charlie has never taken an online course in the past and is concerned about computer skills. Charlie monitored time spent in Week 1 of NR351 and found the following.

Learning Activity Time Spent
Assigned Readings 1 hour
Interacting with Online Lesson 0.75 hours
Composing discussion posts 3.25 hours
Completing homework 3 hours
Work on Time Management Plan 1 hour
Participating in New Student Orientation (NSO) 1 hour
TOTAL 10 hours

Are you more like Pat or Charlie? Most likely you will spend a similar amount of time as one of those students. However, individual times will vary. Some weeks you will spend more time, whereas other weeks you will spend less time. Look ahead at upcoming weeks to determine your time commitment so that you can plan sufficient time to do your best every week in regards to Organization and Time Management !

Time Management

Organization and Time Management

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