Skip to Main Content

Research Process: Time Management

How to Manage Your Time

Three Rules of Time Management:

1. Manage Yourself

2. Schedule Based on Responsibilities and Values

3. Read and Write More Strategically

Rule #1 - Manage Yourself

Managing yourself entails discerning your core values and your commitments. Make a list identifying 3-5 core areas of responsibility and then arrange them according to priority and importance.

An example of prioritization might be:

1. Personal

2. Church

3. Family

4. Academic

5. Social

How do you discern what a responsibility for you is? Consider what the Lord has entrusted to you, i.e. family, your household, your money. Make sure to define the limits on these responsibilities. For example, when concerning family, is extended family also considered a priority? Are aunts, uncles and second cousins all considered part of your family and a priority?

Break these larger categories down into smaller categories and tasks. Discern within these what is necessary to maintain this area of your life and what is not.



  • Spiritual disciplines - prayer, devotional bible reading, NOT: Binge watching Netflix
  • Physical fitness - cooking, working out
  • Administration - paying bills, cleaning

Other ideas for discerning responsibilities are writing a mission statement for each category and then evaluating each task against the mission statement to determine if they coincide or not. Resolve yourself to reevaluate your mission statement and duties in each category every so often. Another idea is to ask yourself what your core values are. Pray about this and when you come to a conclusion, write them down and prioritize them.

Rule #3- Learn to Read and Write More Strategically

1. Learn to Read Faster:

Most people read an average of 200-300 words per minute. By increasing your words per minute read to 150-250, you can cut your reading time in half. 

Some helpful tips to increase your wpm:

  • Use your finger to follow underneath the words
  • Stop sub-vocalizing unimportant words

2. Practice Skimming

The purpose of skimming is to gather an idea about the book as a whole without reading the entire book.

Some How-Tos for skimming:

  • Read the introduction and the conclusion
  • Identify the argument of the book/article, summarize this in one sentence
  • Skim each chapter/section

3. Learning to Skim:

  • Read the first and last paragraph of each chapter/article
  • Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph
  • Determine, "What is the point of this chapter/section?" and "How does this chapter/section fit into the larger whole?"
  • Jot notes as you do each of these

4. Learn a Good Research/Writing Process

Researching (50%):

  • Begin with Tertiary sources and move to Primary and then Secondary sources
  • Tertiary Sources (5-10%)- sources that summarize a topic and what people have said about the topic
  • Primary sources (20-25%)- the main source(s) for your research
  • Secondary sources (20%)- monographs, articles, commentaries, etc. that discuss your primary source

Writing (50%):

  • Drafting/Outlining 10%
  • Critique 5%
  • Revision 25%
  • Editing and Putting in Final Form 10%

Use Zotero Citation Software 

Rule #2 - Learn to Schedule Based on Responsibilities/Values

Create a schedule for yourself with your core responsibilities by:

  1. Listing essential tasks
  2. Designating a time for each duty
  3. Determining what time during the day would be best to accomplish each one
  4. Place each item on your schedule

Maybe you are not a schedule person but a to-do list person! 

Some helpful apps and desktop programs include:

  • iCal or Google Calendar
  • spreadsheets

The important thing is to try a few and determine what works best for you.

Other things to remember when scheduling:

  • Involve your spouse
  • Schedule buffers
  • Take extreme measures if necessary
  • Keep your schedule!
  • Break your schedule only according to your core responsibilities
  • Tweak your schedule
  • Learn to say "No"
  • Schedule rest

Assignment Calculators

Minnesota Assignment Calculator

From their website, "The Assignment Calculator breaks down research and writing projects into manageable steps based on your due dates. Each step includes hints and "how-to" links. You can also sign up to get text reminders for each step."