Managing time

Managing time

Time Management
The ability to manage time is crucial for all students but for students facing re-assessment the pressure to manage well the small amount of time that you have to re-submit or revise for your re-takes is even greater. And obviously, the more pieces of work you have to submit, the greater this pressure will be. For those students who have young children or work commitments, the pressure will feel greater still.

For these reasons it is important at this point to think about how you will manage your time, this means thinking about the work that you need to submit; what it involves, and how you will complete it before the deadline. At this point students tend to go one of two ways. They either panic, thinking about the task that lies ahead of them, or they move into a chill out zone of thinking that there’s plenty of time and no reason to start working today. Try and avoid doing both of these as neither are helpful.    

Planning your time
The process that you need to go through is exactly the same whether you have one or several pieces of work to submit or exams to take, follow the 3 steps below:

Step 1

Write down the piece or pieces of work that you need to complete and the deadline/s that they need to be completed by. e.g.

               Revise for kinetic physiology exam                                 Exam date:            2 July

               Sport Nutrition assignment                                             Submission date:  5 July

Then think about what other things are going on in your life before those deadline dates that will take you away from your studies e.g. daughter’s birthday, time with family, part-time job, housework, socialising, etc. As time is limited you need to be realistic and put in the things you really need to do but also limit some of the things that you could perhaps put on hold for a few weeks whilst you work on your assignments and revision. It’s important to be realistic about the distractions from your work, don’t fall into the trap of pretending that you can work one hundred percent of the time.

Use the time planners below to help you to allocate your tasks and plan your study time:
Weekly planner
Daily planner


Step 2

Now you should have two lists, your university work and your 'other events/priorities'. The next step is to identify how many hours are left for studying. Be realistic here and remember that you will need to plan in time for sleep, meals etc. You will probably be left with a couple of hours each day, with some days where there is no time for study and other days where there are more than a couple of hours.

Add up the number of available study hours and map these on to the planners that you have downloaded on the previous step.

Step 3

Look at the pieces of work that you need to do and identify what is essential in order for you to complete each assignment, ask yourself:

  • will I need to make visits to the library to research content for the assignment or have I already got the information I need?
  • Have I access at home to a computer or will I need to use one at the University or other computers elsewhere, i.e. for specific software/packages etc?  
  • How long will an essay plan, writing and re-writing your essay (usually 2-3 drafts) and writing the bibliography and proof reading take?
  • How many topics do I need to revise for my exam(s)?

Allocate the number of hours you think you will need to complete each task, use how long it normally takes you to finish these tasks as a guide. If you find you have too little time, you will need to revisit either the amount of distractions to try and reduce them, or speed up on the time to complete the tasks.

In order to reduce distractions you may have to resort to using friends and family for childcare, neglecting housework for a few weeks and allocating any task that you can to someone else. You may also have to forgo any social life you have for a few weeks. It’s not great, but it is only for a few weeks!

Sticking to the plan: hints and tips

  • Once you have allocated time to each piece of work it is then time to start working. Stick to your plan and work in short bursts. Forty minutes of hard effort is better than three hours with two of those spent making coffee, texting your mates and swinging on your chair. The more successful you are in focussing in these short bursts the more motivated you will feel. 
  • Reduce time spent on travel to and from the library etc. by doing your research in one day rather than going to the library every day. Looking up resources on-line from home prior to your library visit can also save you time, as armed with a list of shelf references, you should be able to locate your books quickly and easily.
  • Tick each task off as you complete it and at the end of every couple of days review your progress. If you are falling behind on tasks it is better to try and correct this every few days rather than to leave it to a couple of weeks into your study plan.
  • If you have a number of pieces of work to complete you may want to focus on one piece at a time. Complete one and then remove it from your list of assignments. This way you will see your work reducing rather than constantly feeling the pressure of having 3 or 4 assignments to write.



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