How To Manage Your Time

Jenny Ewen, BA, NREMT

As a student and when working in EMS (or any job), time management is very important. When you’re a student, particularly when you also have a job, you have to manage fitting in homework and studying with everything else. Even when you’re not a student, managing work time and personal time can get difficult, particularly for shift-work for EMS workers. So here are some ideas to help you start managing your time better every day, whether it’s at work, school, or in your personal life.


  • Make a list, use a calendar/day planner, or enter everything you have to do in the day/week/month on your phone. Seeing it all laid out in front of you will help you start to spot where you have too many things going on, or where you have down-time. From here, you can try to shuffle anything that can be moved to another time to better fit your schedule.
  • Schedule in time for 7-8 hours of sleep every day! Sacrificing your sleep will only make it more difficult to manage your time since a tired brain doesn’t function as well.
  • Note which things coming up are the most important, and which can be pushed down on your priority list. For instance, if you’re scheduled for a shift at work, you can’t change that. But if you were invited to your cousin’s birthday party on an evening that you could use to get important things done, you can skip out on that to ensure you have all the time you need (and not sacrificing on sleep).
  • If it’s your social calendar filling up, or taking on more shifts at work just because people ask you to, learn to say no. You shouldn’t feel like you have to do something just because someone asks you to, particularly if you don’t want to do that thing. Keeping your time to only things that you feel are important to you is a big step in time management.
  • Be wary of being too much of a perfectionist. It’s important to do things correctly, but don’t get overburdened with little details and second-guessing yourself.
  • Be aware of how much time you’re spending on non-important things, like watching TV or surfing the web. While it’s important to make time for relaxing activities, mindlessly watching TV when you have studying to do isn’t a good use of time. If you need a break, set a timer and give yourself 15 minutes of TV time. Or, watch one episode of a TV show then get right back to work. The best use of “break time” is going for a walk – the exercise will stimulate and oxygenate your brain so you can keep working.
  • Calm your thoughts – another time waster is spending time worrying about all you have to do and how you’re going to get it all done. Take one task at a time and focus completely on that. Remember to take deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed.


Above everything, make sure you’re making time for a healthy lifestyle with wholesome food and exercise. When your body and mind are healthy, you’ll have much more energy and be able to think clearly enough to make a good plan for your busy schedule!

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