Organising Time

Some principles of time management relating to revision/academic work

Everything takes longer than you expect. 

If anything can go wrong, it will (ie computers, printers, availability of tutors, books, illness). 

Work often has a way of expanding to fill the time available (eg I have three weeks to so an essay and it is only finished late the night before it's due). 

By failing to plan we may be planning (unconsciously) to fail (eg leaving things to magical answers). 

Prioritise - other wise you will rend to spend time in amounts inversely proportional to the importance of the task (eg spending hours and hours reading more and more books and only leaving a small amount of time to actually write the essay). 

A few critical efforts produce the greatest results. 

Focus on problem resolution, more than problem discussion. 

With acknowledgement to Murray-Eisenberg's "Some Principles of Time Management" 

Organising revision time 

Write out a blank timetable for a week at a time - showing start and finish times for each day, covering all seven days. 

Make the first week a 'trial period' to determine what you can realistically achieve each day. 

Firstly, block in any time that is already accounted for - eg lectures, seminars, social arrangements. 

In the time that is remaining block in your revision timetable. 

Try to vary your subject headings so as to vary the topics you revise. 

Set yourself a daily target of revision hours - eg four hours marked in half hour blocks.

Reward yourself with breaks, even for a few minutes every 30-40 minutes.

Try to set a realistic time limit to complete a task.

Divide the week into 21 sessions:

  • 7 mornings
  • 7 afternoons
  • 7 evenings

each session being a maximum of three hours long.

Plan to work in the University or privately for 15 sessions - this will ensure you can take six sessions for relaxation, entertainment and a complete break from study. (Plan something special that you can really enjoy every week).

Important rule : For each unit of time spent reading you should spend at least the same amount of time recalling what you have just read. It is by recalling that we remember what we have read.

Study Habits

Find somewhere to work that suits you with few distractions.

Take frequent breaks and monitor yourself for signs of fatigue and burn-out.

Plan your day either the might before or first thing in the morning. Try to vary the tasks, alternating topics you find difficult with those that are interesting and enjoyable.

Plan some leisure activities that you will enjoy every day and try to do something different for at least an hour before you go to bed.

Try to set realistic goals and targets otherwise you will feel constantly disappointed and negative about your achievements.

Try to make goals specific and break each down into manageable parts.

Allocate a specific time for each task and when that is finished STOP and move on to what you planned to do next.

At the end of the day recognise all your achievements and give yourself credit.