Using the Time Management System

Semester Planning

Review one syllabus at a time:

  • Record the due dates of all Quizzes, Tests, Rough Drafts, Papers, and Assignments in each course.
  • If no date is provided, use Monday of the week the assignment is mentioned on the syllabus.
  • Do this with each course
  • Choose a color for each course and highlight the assignments accordingly
  • If an assignment is worth a lot of points, indicate this by staring it, or otherwise making a notation you will recognize as meaning "this is worth a large portion of my grade!"

View Samples:

Monthly Planning

Using each of your syllabi, list all of your important due dates for the entire semester for all papers, quizzes, tests, mid-terms, finals and special assignments on the Important Date Sheet. On the left side of the important date sheet, establish a grade goal for each course.

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Neatly transfer each of the due dates to the Academic Planning Calendar. Review each of the important due dates from each syllabi and determine the grade value weight of each item in the overall final grade for the course and color code the due dates as:

  • RED = Very Important
  • BLUE = Important
  • YELLOW = Somewhat Important

Post the calendar in the most visibly convenient place in your room. This will increase your conscientiousness of your work for each week of the term and avoid being caught in the proverbial CRUNCH.

Weekly Planning

Plan the estimated time needed to complete the work for each course separately. Using the Weekly Study Time Estimator, list the assignments to be completed for a week, along with a day, and estimate the time needed. (View a PDF version of the document.)

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Daily Planning

Using the Daily Study Schedule, insert your classes in the appropriate time slots first. (View a PDF of the document.) Next, transfer the estimated study time from each line of the Weekly Study Time Estimator to the best time slots in your daily study schedule. Next, block out the time needed to fit your work study schedule.

Next, block out the time needed to meet your obligation to any student organization or sports team. Finally, be sure to schedule some time for meals, rest and recreation.

The total combined hours for study and class time should average between 35 and 40 hours.

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Time Management Tips

Not sure how your time adds up? Time flies - how is your time spent? The following tips may enable you to create a schedule that works for you - not against you.

General tips for time management

  • Write it down - make paper reminders so you can't forget.
  • Never dwell on failures as you can do nothing about them and they use up valuable time.
  • Never feel guilty about those things that you did not do or accomplish.
  • Have a light lunch so you don't get sleepy in the afternoon and be non-productive.
  • If you have to wait, use the time to relax, plan or do something that you would have had to use other time for, i.e., reading a page or two from a good book. Always have something in your possession to read.

Create a flexible schedule

  • Get satisfaction from every minute of the day, since all time is crucial.
  • Seek new techniques each day that can be used to gain time. Use other people's ideas - try it - you may like it.
  • Evaluate all habits and eliminate those you don't need.
  • Eliminate non-productive activities as soon as you realize them.
  • Reserve "open time" for targets of opportunity, last minute decisions, etc.
  • Allow yourself diversity in your schedule so you will not get tired of your list of activities and reduce your efficiency or effectiveness.

Plan daily activities ahead of time

  • Plan in the evening so you can get a good start on the next day's activities. (Make a schedule for your entire day.) I have lost years - one minute at a time.
  • Prioritize your activity list each day and do your best to complete them quickly.
  • Use your time allotted for work wisely.
  • Get up early each day and get a head start on the day before other people begin.

Make goals that can be attained

  • Review goal statements daily and identify those activities necessary to accomplish each and do them.
  • Keep your long-term goals in mind even when doing the most insignificant tasks. Never lose sight of your goals.
  • Revise your goal statements monthly to eliminate outdated ones and add new ones.
  • Remember – time passes, will you?

Organizing your time - make a schedule

  • Put in a set of daily activities, including eating and sleeping.
  • Put in time for classes, labs, etc.
  • Put in time you set aside for study.
  • Put in time you set aside for recreation.
  • Examine your present schedule and note the amount of time actually expended in study and classwork.
  • Note the unused - "wasted" hours in each day (hours between classes, etc.)
  • Make up a new schedule, setting aside an adequate amount of study time. A general rule for a study schedule is two hours out of class study time per week for each hour carried. For example, a student carrying 15 hours should schedule 30 hours of outside study time per week.
  • In setting up your new study schedule, be sure to utilize those between class hours during the day.
  • Be realistic and set aside adequate amounts of time for sleep, meals, and recreation.

Implementing your schedule

  • Determine ahead of time a realistic amount of time to spend on an assignment and them make every effort to complete the assignment within those limits. Make deadlines realistic.
  • Make allowances for interruptions. Make every effort to keep interruptions to a minimum.
  • A person's supply of energy will fluctuate from day to day - allow for this.
  • Take short breaks during long study periods (10 minutes per hour is realistic.)
  • Attempt to study in each subject every day - this promotes learning and retention.
  • Study in a particular area until the material is mastered - but take breaks.
  • Apply the schedule. Be flexible and make temporary or permanent changes in the schedule as needed.
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