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Academic Support


Learning Skills and Strategies

Learning strategies are ways to understand, remember, and apply the knowledge you learn.

How Well Do You Manage Your Time?

Managing your time effectively is crucial to success in post-secondary education.  The first step to time mamangement is determining where all of your time goes.

Try this online Time Tracker.

On average, a single course can take 9 to 15 hours of your time per week!  Do you have enough time outisde of school to devote to your courses?

Resources to Help with Time Management

These resources can help build your time management skills.  Please feel free to print them out. They are a great tool to help you plan your classes and study time! Also, don't forget to visit Red Deer Polytechnic Students' Association to receive a planner to help organize your daily tasks.

Stay Focused and Motivated

Do you ever find that, when you are studying, you can't seem to focus? If you find yourself checking your phone instead of studying, this article discusses research showing how "information overload" from technology makes tasks take longer. 

Do You Sabotage Your Time Management? 

People sabotage their time management in 10 main ways

  1. Predicting failure - It is easy to give up before you start.  Hold judgement on whether or not you can be successful and think positively.

  1. Starting too big - Don't try and schedule every minute of everyday.  Start by scheduling a very short period of time when you are fairly certain of experiencing success.

  1. Scheduling every possible moment of the day - Leaving some open time helps you avoid feeling trapped by your schedue and gives you the freedom to enjoy unexpected opportunities as they arise.

  1. Being totally unrealistic - A general rule of thumb is to estimate how long it will take to do a task, then double that estimate.

  1. Assuming failure and giving up when the schedule doesn't go as planned -  No one can stay perfectly on schedule all of the time.  When you drift away from you schedule, find a way to have a success experience with whichever part of the schedule remains for the day.

  1. Focusing on the past - Past failures are just that- past.  Look forward toward success, using the failures to motivate your growth.

  1. Emphasizing failures and ignoring successes - Focus on what has gone well and keep building on small successes.

  1. Prioritizing the least meaningful and most unproductive activities - Prioritize difficult or goal orientated activities and at a specific time to do them. 

  1. Basing personal time management on other people's needs and priorities - Your motivation to succeed is much stronger is you are working towards goals that feed your hopes and dreams rather than someone else's plans.

  1. Going it alone - Find an accountability partner that can support you with your time management and encourage you along the way. 

Eliminate "Time Thieves" 

To create more time in your day, identify and eliminate your “time thieves”: 

  • Laziness - “I just don’t feel like doing it.” 

  • Sidetracks - “Oh, I better see Mike first.” 

  • Procrastination - “I’ll do it later.” 

  • Day-dreaming - “Some day, I’ll amaze them all.” 


  • Procrastination is a complex behaviour; the reasons as well as the form it takes are almost as varied as the students themselves. Learn about some symptoms of procrastination and how to help minimize procrastination. 

  • Procrastination is a habit, not a fatal flaw. It takes persistence to change, but you can do it.

Why do we Procrastinate?

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Avoidance of control
  • Discomfort with the task

Remedies for Procrastination

  • Substitute the mental message “I should” with “I’d like to”
  • Plan a reward for finishing a task at a specific time
  • Subdivide a big task into small chunks – focus on one chunk at a time without thinking about the “big picture”
  • Suspend self-criticism about how well you are doing
  • Work with a partner to complete a task
  • Decide what you are going to do to complete a task then make a commitment to do it – tell someone (accountability partner)

Fleet, J., Goodchild, F. & Zajchowski, R. Learning for Success: Effective Strategies for Students. Toronto:  Harcourt Canada, 1999 

Balance School with Family

Many students face the challenge of trying to balance raising a family with going to school. These tips can help:

  1. Put pleasure before business
  2. Make studying a reward
  3. Plan your learning activities so you do the less demanding tasks when the kids are around
  4. Use the resources around you
  5. Get creative; be outrageous!

Resources to Print

if you would like printable resources on any of the topics above please feel free to download these PDFs

Tools and Apps

There are a variety of tools and apps that can assist you with time management. We have tried and used some of them and others have come to our attention from faculty and students who have found them helpful. 

Red Deer Polytechnic does not endorse the apps and sites listed here, and is not responsible for any technological problems that may arise from their use.