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Time management

Planning your time

Plan out how you will manage your time at the start of each semester. Start by checking your timetable and recording your deadlines. Then make an overall plan for the semester which includes all your commitments – lectures, seminars, labs, meetings, part-time job, clubs and societies – and keep adding to it.

Create a study diary or wall planner

Your plan could be a long to-do list for the weeks ahead, but it probably works better as a diary or wall planner. Online calendars have the benefit of being easily edited to reflect any change in your plans.

Apple Calendar or Google Calendar can easily be shared to organise group meetings and can be synced to your phone and email for reminder messages.

Use a week-by-week planner or diary to schedule what you have to do, so that you don't lose track. Take a look at this example diary to see how that might look.

Fit your study slots around lectures and seminars, and look for spaces in your timetable when you have more free time to focus on larger tasks. You can create your own timetable to include details of lectures, work and other commitments to help you decide when to allocate study slots.

My Study Life is a useful tool that allows you to timetable, create to-do lists and schedule reminders. You can download the app to your device or access it online.

For advice on specialised software and tools that can help you with your studies and assessments (such as dictation, screen reading or mind mapping tools), visit the Disability Services Assistive Technology page. You can also find a wider range of personalised support, from academic adjustments and alternative exam arrangements to advice on extra funding. To find out more and register, contact Disability Services.     

If you are planning your time to work on a specific assignment, break the work down into different elements. Make sure that you take the time to understand and interpret your question at the beginning, and allow time to review and edit your work at the end. Working backward from the deadline with a calendar can help you to identify exactly how long you could spend on each stage of the assignment.

This video shows how to break down your assignment into time-bound objectives.

View video using Microsoft Stream (link opens in a new window, available for University members only)

The Assignment Survival Kit from the University of Kent can help you plan the different stages of doing an assignment or essay.

Find out more about planning your assignments.

Tips for planning your time

To plan your time effectively, we recommend that you:

  • have an overall goal for your study sessions
  • identify the individual tasks needed to complete your work
  • break these tasks down into simple steps
  • set up reminders to keep you on track
  • review your progress regularly and adapt your plan if you need to.
  • Don't give up – persevere.