Good time management and organisation are key to staying on top of your studies. You will need to plan your time and your assignments, maintain a good filing system for all your study materials, and ensure that you keep pace with your course.
Plan your time
Use a time planner
Use a time planner to take control of your time. This will involve organising your studies (lectures, seminars, reading and assignments) along with all other activities and commitments in your life (work, family etc) throughout the year. Try colour coding different activities on your planner to help keep track of them.
Plan each assignment
Start each assignment as early as possible. Working backwards from the deadline, consider the stages of work needed to complete each one and estimate how long you have to dedicate to each, then plot them on your time planner. Complete each stage of work on time to avoid last minute panics and to meet your deadlines. For a sample of stages in one type of assignment, see managing your essay.
Set achievable goals and prioritise tasks
Divide individual days into bitesize chunks of time and allocate an achievable task to each session e.g. 9-11am – Read/make notes on Journal article x; 11-12am – Draw up essay plan for assignment y; 12-1pm – Proof-read report z… etc. This will keep you focussed and productive, and ensure constant progress.
Consider which tasks are both important and urgent – e.g. Proof-read and submit assignment x – and prioritise these on your daily schedule.
Set up a filing system
Group, organise and store information and work in a logical order
- Think about where and how you will group, organise and store course information, handouts, research and your notes so you can find them easily e.g. ‘Module X: Topic A/B/C/D’ or ‘Assignment Y: Research/Notes/Drafts’.
- Number assignment drafts (essays, project reports etc) to keep track of the most recent version.
- Use ring binders with labelled dividers, computer folders/files or a mixture both to stay organised and save time.
Back-up work regularly on your computer to avoid any risk of losing it
Keep on top of your work
If you find yourself falling behind with your studies don’t ignore it, reflect on the reasons, consider solutions and take action – action can even be seeking advice if you are struggling or not sure of what you are doing
Seek help in plenty of time if you need it
Ask your lecturer or seek advice from relevant university services which may include:
- The Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS)
- Libraries & IT services
- Student Support & Wellbeing (SSW)
For more information on all topics mentioned above and more visit the Student Learning Advisory Service – University of Kent (SLAS) we also offer appointments and workshops.