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Not enough time to do everything? When you're studying at university it can be difficult to balance all the things in life that demand your time and attention. Effective planning is crucial. This guide will get you thinking about:
- How you currently spend your time
- The need to prioritise your tasks
- And give you hints and tips on how to maximise your time management skills
Improve your Time Management skills
Time spent planning your learning can greatly benefit your studies as:
- You are more likely to avoid last minute rushes and be less stressed
- You will be more likely to carry out each task more efficiently and effectively, producing higher quality pieces of work
- Plus you will have more time to participate in a wider number of activities.
Key stages in managing your time include:
- Planning ahead - be organised and aware of both work and social commitments
- Prioritisation - discover what needs to be done by when
- Action planning - how you will complete tasks and stay motivated?
- Evaluating your progress on a regular basis - how are you getting on and are you are on schedule?
One of the biggest barriers to managing your time is motivating yourself to "get up and go". Writing your next assignment might not be a great motivator, but if you see it as the next step in your overall career plan you might be more encouraged to carry on.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you really doing what you want to be doing?
- What is important to you?
- What do you want people to say about you at your funeral?
- What do you want to be doing in ten years time?
- If you could only achieve one thing in your life, what would you like it to be?
While at university you will probably have competing commitments, for example
- preparation for seminars
- assignments with similar deadlines
- paid work
- and fun with friends and family
Use the following document to help you prioritise what's important and what can be dropped from your life at the moment:
You will have quite a few commitments throughout the year. You will need to organise when you will undertake particular tasks.
The following can help you with this:
- task sheets
You will need to plan large tasks such as assignments:
- Analyse the problem so that you understand what is required
- Break the assignments into smaller chunks to make it more manageable, e.g. search for information, write draft, revise draft etc.
- Decide how much time you need for each smaller task and when you will do them.
- Be realistic. Tasks always take longer than you think, so over estimate
Once you have started a task:
- evaluate your progress on a regular basis
- make sure you are on schedule
- if you are falling behind, consider why
- plan how you can get back on track
- don't be tempted to cut corners or rush a task.
- if you think you won't get your task finished on time your options are:
- set more time aside (i.e re-prioritise)
- reduce the scope
- re-negotiate (is it possible to phase delivery?)
Download the following documents and complete the exercises to improve your time management skills.
Using material on this page