What can you do to manage your time?
Make schedules for each week of the university semester and for the semester as a whole. The weekly plan is where you set short term goals: what needs to be done this week and so on. The semester planner is where you plan your work over the entire Semester.
Calculate how much actual time you have, or could find, for your studies. Although there are 24 hours in a day, not all of those hours can be used to study. After removing time for sleeping, eating, shopping and so on, you'll arrive at a number that represents the 'real time' that can be devoted to study.
Make the most of the time you do have. The idea that it's only effective to study if you have large chunks of time is a misconception. In fact, studying uninterrupted for hours on end can be counter-productive in terms of concentration.
- Use small blocks of time for completing minor study tasks.
- Break large tasks down into segments, which are easily achievable.
- When you arrange a few hours to study, always be ready to make the most of it. Save this time for thinking and writing or focused reading.
Work out your optimum study method. When, and under what circumstances, do you work most efficiently and how will that fit in with your life? For example, is it best to work at night after the kids are in bed, or while they're doing their own homework? Clarifying your preferences will make you a more efficient and effective student. Be honest with yourself about your preferences. Don't plan to get up 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.
Be realistic about how much time is required to complete particular tasks. Generally, academic work takes longer than you think, especially if you want to do well.
Avoid perfectionism—you don't have time to make every single assignment perfect. Also, spending all your time making one assignment perfect uses up the time that you need to complete all your other work.
Allow yourself adequate 'thinking time' when doing assignments. Students are often aware of the time it takes to find research material, to make notes, and to actually write the assignment; what they don't always consider is the time it takes to do the necessary thinking.
Start work on assignments well before they are due. Sometimes you may have two or more assignments due on the same day, so leaving things until the last moment is not recommended. Not only will this make university a real chore, but you will not do as well as you are able.
Set a regular time for ongoing tasks. If you have a Semester-long assignment that requires a short weekly activity or entry (such as a reflective journal), set a fixed time each week to devote to it. Completing each activity weekly will prevent a 'log jam' of work at the end of Semester when you will have other assignments due.
Don't rely on extensions. An extension isn't a ‘get out of jail free' card. It will get you through a single emergency, but the extra day or two will eat into time that needs to be spent on your other assignments.