Support with Time Management

Good time management is essential to success at university. Planning your time allows you to spread your work over a Semester, avoid a 'traffic jam' of work, and cope with study stress. Many deadlines for university work occur at the same time, and unless you plan ahead, you'll find it impossible to manage. To meet the demands of study you need to spread your workload over a Semester. Work out what needs to be done and when. Work out how to use your available time as efficiently as possible.

UNSW time management support

Plan ahead and prioritise

The first step to good time management is to prioritise your tasks. In other words, deciding which task is most important and should be completed first. For example, in a choice between reading for an essay due in four weeks or preparing an oral presentation in two weeks, choose to prepare the presentation.

To prioritise successfully you must develop weekly and long term time management plans. Many students find long, medium and short term planning useful for organising their study as effectively as possible. Planning ahead saves time, worry and energy.

Tips to make time management easier

  • Complete small tasks straight away rather than putting them off. This will encourage you to begin tackling larger tasks needing attention.
  • Break difficult or 'boring' work into sections. This allows you to approach a large task as a series of manageable parts.
  • Don't try to write a whole assignment in one sitting. Write it section by section.
  • If you have 'writer's block', try writing something-anything-down. Even if you change it completely later, at least you've started. The alternative is having nothing at all.
  • Work out your optimum study method. Find out when, and under what circumstances, you work best will make you a more efficient and effective student. 

    • Do you prefer to work early in the morning or late at night?
    • Do you prefer working on one assignment exclusively, or several at the same time?
    • Do you need complete silence to concentrate, or do you find a background buzz more conducive to effective study?
    • Be honest with yourself - don't plan to wake early and study at 5 am if you're not a morning person, and don't plan to study after dinner if you always fall asleep by 8.30 pm.
  • Remember that it's your study and the time you spend on it is up to you. If you find yourself losing direction, sit back and think of why you are doing your degree; remembering your goals can put everything into perspective.

 See next: Long and short term planning