Five Top Time Management Skills for Tutors


  1. What is effective time management?
  2. What are the 4 Ds of time management?
  3. Why is time management important in teaching?
  4. How should you prepare for your time with your students?
  5. How do you manage the given time in your class to finish your lesson?
  6. Five top time management skills for tutors


The concept of improving your time management skills can feel like a bit of a buzz phrase. There are hundreds of articles, books, and podcasts dedicated to encouraging you to master the art of time management, but what does it really mean, and why does it matter so much? ⏰

The benefits of good time management include greater productivity, less stress, and more opportunity to do the things that matter. Especially as a tutor you may be balancing your work with other commitments like family, your own learning, travel or even another job. So, managing your hours effectively is particularly crucial.

Read on as we explain what good time management skills look like, how to develop time management skills, and how, when implemented correctly, they will revolutionise your online tutoring experience for the better. 👇



What is effective time management?


Effective time management is all about working smarter, not harder. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so how do some people get more done than others? Often, it's simple time management that stands between us and making the most of our time. 🕗

Strong time management practices will inevitably lead to more efficiency, better productivity, less stress and more positivity. By employing a few fundamental principles, like planning and prioritisation, you’ll find you can get a lot more done within your working hours, which will, in turn, create more time off to focus on everything else that brings you joy. 😀


What are the 4 Ds of time management?


The exact origins of the 4 Ds of time management are slightly contested, but it is widely agreed that Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt first defined the method in their book ‘The Power of Focus’. 

Regardless of its source, the 4 Ds method has been used extensively for decades. Many time management and productivity experts both refer to and recommend it in their articles, podcasts, books and more. Let’s take a look.


Work on tasks that only take a few minutes to complete and can be done immediately. Getting a few smaller tasks done quickly will build momentum before you move on to more significant tasks. 🧑‍💻


Temporarily pause tasks that don’t need to be handled straight away. Postpone tasks that are not time-sensitive in favour of those that are. Reschedule non-priority tasks for when you have more time. ⌚


Does every task need to be completed by you, or could it be done by someone else in your team? Pass tasks that don’t require your specific know-how onto others where you can. 🤝


Remove irrelevant tasks from your to-do list and move on. Learn to say “no” to non-vital tasks – like unproductive meetings or unnecessary emails – to ensure you have enough room for the core matters. 


Why is time management important in teaching?


Working as a teacher or a tutor requires excellent time management skills. Your job isn’t just about the time spent directly teaching your student; you’ve also got research, lesson planning, marking and evaluation to think about. 😅

Tutoring requires you to be agile and responsive to every student’s needs. Balancing the long-term goals with the immediate educational needs of your students comes with every assignment. It's no wonder that 50 percent of primary and secondary teachers reported that teacher workload was ‘a fairly serious problem’ in the 2019 GOV.UK Teacher Workload Survey.

However, with practical time management skills, there is no doubt that teachers and tutors can increase their productivity, alleviate workload pressure and provide a better education for their students. 👌


How should you prepare for your time with your students?


The most important ways tutors need to prepare for lesson time is to ensure strong knowledge of the upcoming subject matter and make a solid lesson plan. The best teaching is provided when a tutor has the bigger picture in mind. Having the perfect lesson plan is just the first step in thinking  about the long-term learning plan of your students. 🧑‍🏫

Think about the type of learning objectives for each class.  Are you introducing new content or revising stuff from previous learning? What do you want students to act on, think about, or practise in the lesson? Is the lesson well balanced with active and passive learning? 

Lastly, make sure everyone – not just you – is prepared. Keeping your students informed of what to expect throughout your time together makes them more likely to arrive at each lesson prepared and motivated. 💁

Tips on preparing for lessons

Let’s recap some of the best ways to get ready for your lessons with students:

  • Get familiar with and inspired by the upcoming content
  • Write a lesson plan that fits into their long-term learning plan – whilst leaving room for flexibility and including options
  • Be clear on the learning objectives for your students
  • Share all marked homework before the lesson
  • Test any tools or apps you plan to use
  • Clear your workspace and have all necessary materials to hand
  • Be ready to share the plan for your next lesson together. 


How do you manage the given time in your class to finish your lesson?


Every tutor knows that lessons don't always go to plan, no matter how thoroughly you prepare. Sometimes your students race through learning material more quickly than you’d imagined; other times, certain exercises take much longer to complete than expected. That’s before we account for lateness, missed lessons or technical difficulties! 🙄

No matter how each lesson goes, the last section is vital. This time must be allocated to encouraging metacognition and reflection as well as providing guidance and feedback for the next section. We recommend spending at least 10 minutes at the end of every lesson consolidating knowledge, answering questions and talking about what will be covered in the next lesson. 

If you look at the clock and see that you only have a short time left, always round up with a conclusion like the one above. Push any missed learning content into the following week, clearly explain any homework tasks and bring your lesson to a clear close. 💯


Five top time management skills for tutors


What are the best time management strategies for tutors? There are plenty of time management tips, but which are most relevant to teachers and tutors, and how can you implement them for maximum impact? Take a look at GoStudent’s five top time management skills for tutors below. 👇

#1 Make a schedule 

Your schedule should run alongside your calendar, mapping out how your student's learning plan will fall over the upcoming weeks well in advance. Remember to include as many non-work-related activities as possible to ensure you are maintaining balance and setting realistic timelines. Consider time blocking to ensure you have time set aside to work on your priorities. 📅

#2 Write priority lists

Using the 4 Ds of time management, list your daily priorities. Start with small, achievable tasks, delay those you can, and delete any unnecessary tasks. We recommend making a priority list the night before or early in the morning of the day it relates to. ✍️

#3 Have a backup plan

As discussed, tutoring can be unpredictable. It is hard to predict the pace at which your student will work through lesson content – not to mention lateness, missed lessons or technical difficulties playing havoc with your plans. Make a contingency or backup plan by having alternative activities and flexibility built into your lesson plans. ✌️

#4 Regularly reflect

Tutoring a student is like going on a journey with them. Often, you will learn as much from your ongoing interactions as they do. By regularly reflecting – perhaps on a weekly or monthly basis – you can assess what worked for that period as well as potential areas of improvement. You’ll soon work out what minor adjustments you could be making to improve your and your student's experience. 🤔

#5 Make time for yourself

Remember that you also need to take care of yourself. Tutoring can take a lot out of you, so it's crucial that you recharge when you can. Time blocking this time in your calendar can help ensure that you create a good balance. Do the things that make you happy, whether sleeping in, getting a massage, spending time with friends, doing yoga or making a five-course meal. 🧘

Bonus tip!

Our phones have taken center stage in this age of social media and digital connectivity. We rely on them to keep in touch, stay up to date, make us laugh, store our memories and so much more. BUT they can also act as unhelpful distractions. If you struggle to focus on one thing at a time, we strongly recommend locking your phone away during lesson times. 📵

If you haven’t already, why not join us as a GoStudent tutor?! Some of the many benefits include working remotely and managing your own schedule. Moreover, we connect you with the students, so you don’t need to advertise. Sounds good? Sign up to become an online tutor today! 🎒