Time and task management
Successfully balancing and juggling all of your commitments requires an organised approach to both time and task management.
Take time to reflect on your current approach to managing busy periods and consider ways in which you could better manage your time. Two effective methods of managing your time involve devising a realistic study timetable and then ordering your tasks in terms of their importance and urgency.
Establishing a schedule
A study timetable is an essential ingredient in effective time management. Developing a regular study routine can help you feel in control of your study. Once you begin following your study schedule, it will become a habit and should be easier to maintain.
On your timetable:
- list all your academic commitments (e.g. lectures, tutorials, practicals, seminars)
- add other fixed commitments (e.g. work, house duties, sport, social events)
- look for blocks of time that can be used for study related activities (e.g. study group meetings, researching in the library, reviewing your lecture notes during a train ride).
Tell others about your timetable so that they are aware of your various commitments.
Use the timetable as a way to develop a more regular study routine. However, if you are having trouble sticking to it, don’t abandon it completely. Instead, think about how you can modify it to suit you better. Developing a more consistent study routine takes time and effort but is worth it.
As well as weekly planning, it’s useful to map out your major assessment tasks on a semester-long plan. This can help you to:
- determine your priorities
- recognise your busy periods
- schedule tasks over the whole semester.
Prioritising tasks and maintaining balance
To help manage your workload, particularly during busy times, prioritise your tasks:
- list everything you have to do and decide which tasks absolutely must be done and which can be done later
- list these in order of importance. You may find there are tasks that you can cross off your list without compromising your overall results.
- review due dates and deadlines and decide the best order in which to tackle the important tasks.
Also, try to break your major tasks into smaller, more manageable units. For example, a research essay will involve smaller tasks such as searching for information, reading, planning, drafting, re-writing, and editing.
Approaching your major assessments as smaller, less daunting tasks can help to reduce your anxiety.
Finally, keep in mind that a key factor in successful study is maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle. Balance the isolation of intense periods of study with some other, more social and active pursuits that keep mind and body healthy and engaged.
Remember that you can book an individual tutorial with an Academic Skills adviser should you want assistance in developing a workable study schedule.