University study requires a lot more independent work than was previously expected of you. Your success will depend on how effective you are at planning ahead and managing your tasks and time. Time management is a skill that anyone can learn, so whether you are trying to fit your studies into an already busy life, or are still learning how to take charge of managing your own time, we hope you will find our resources and suggestions useful.
Planners and other resources help you keep track of your assignments and their due dates.
Setting goals to increase your motivation
It is likely you will experience ups and downs in your motivation to study. Staying focused and avoiding procrastination often depends on your ability to make connections between your immediate study goals and your short-term and long-term goals in life.
If you think you need more focus and direction, take a look at our goal setting resources.
Tap on the accordions below to reveal the ways that you can make the most of your semester, your week, and your day
Planning your trimester
Using your paper outlines to help you plan.
Paper outlines are usually available the week before each semester commences, or during the first week of teaching. Make sure you use your paper outlines to find out and note down the due dates for all of your assessments for the semester.
We recommend that you look at how much each assignment is worth and set yourself a start date that reflects the amount of time you will need to commit to produce an assignment at a standard that you will be happy with.
Remember: free A2 semester planners are available from Student Learning reception in M.1.04. You can also obtain free wall planners from the Waikato Students Union, banks and other businesses in the community.
Planning your week
Fitting everything you have to do into your week at University.
Your weekly planning needs to include your study-related objectives, as well as the other important tasks and commitments that you have in a given week.
Check your semester planner for the coming week, and look a few weeks ahead, so that you can set some clear and specific goals to achieve.
Make a list of everything that you need to do and keep this with you, so that you can consult it regularly.
The more you can break down larger goals into smaller ones, the more achievable your workload will appear.
Remember to set aside a specific time for each of the task you want to achieve this week. If you don’t manage to achieve your goal in this time, think about what impacted on your time management and whether or not these factors were beyond your control.
Planning your day
How to make decisions about what you should priortise throughout your day
It is important to set specific priorities every day. If you are not in the habit of creating a “to do” list, we suggest you try making this part of your regular routine.
The things you need to accomplish in a given day are not of equal priority, so make some decisions about what is most important to you. Prioritising your list helps you to focus on the most urgent things first.
It may be useful to create a separate “must do list”, containing only the items that are time sensitive and absolutely must be done today. When your “to do list” is getting too long and overwhelming, just focus on your “must do” list and tackle these items first.
Advice and strategies for time management
- Advice and strategies for study
- Ways to focus your attention on what you need to do keep up with your studies at university.
Time management resources
Ngā mahere i te reo Māori
Most students use the electronic tools on their phones or the calendar app associated with their emails to keep a record of when things should be happening in their study lives. New Moodle also can give alerts for assignment dates.
For those of you who still like to work with paper ...
- Example of a goal setting worksheet
- A file that demonstrates how you can set specific goals, with approximate time frames, and keep track of your progress.
- Trimester Planner (pdf, 114kb)
- This is a current (Trim A, 2023) trimester planner with the dates already done. It fits neatly into the front cover of your work folder. Download as MS Word version (if you want to type into it directly)
- Weekly planner
- An A4 sized map of the hours in your week. Fill out your lectures, study blocks and other daily activities.
- To do list
- Keep on top of the things you need to do in your day.