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Time management: Advice and strategies

Whether you are using your Google calendar, a paper-based wall planner, a diary or some other time management tool that works for you, it is important that you know when all your assignments are due, so that you can work towards meeting your deadlines.

Set start dates

Now that you have thought about your workload, set yourself realistic start dates for each assignment and add these to your semester planner.

The amount of time you need to put into an assignment differs for everyone, but here are some good estimates:

  • If your assignment is worth up to 10% of the paper, start 1-2 weeks before the due date.
  • If your assignment is worth up to 20% of the paper, start 3-4 weeks before the due date.
  • If your assignment is worth more than 20% of the paper, start 4-6 weeks before the due date.
  • Don’t forget exam revision. If there is an examination in your paper, you should set revision deadlines throughout the semester that reflect the value of the exam compared to any internal assessments.

Assignment Planner by Studiosity

↑ Scroll within the frame to use Studiosity's assignment planner ↑

Check your planner every day

Make sure that checking your planner becomes part of your daily routine.

If you are using a paper-based planner:

  • Put your planner somewhere prominent in your home.
  • We also recommend crossing out each day, so you get a sense of deadlines approaching.

If your planner is electronic:

  • Pick a time and place in your daily routine for checking your planner.
  • Initially, it may be helpful to set an alarm to remind you to do this.
  • You could consider setting alarms or email reminders to help you to keep track of your deadlines.
  • We also suggest you put your planner in the cloud, so you can share it with all your devices.

Record all due dates

We recommend that the entries in your plan include:

  • A description of the course (e.g course code or short title)
  • The assignment type (e.g. essay, lab report, reflection etc.)
  • The percentage the assessment is worth.
  • The time of day that it is due.

Some students like to colour code particular papers or assignment types. It might be worth seeing if this is a strategy that works for you.

Keep track of your other important life events

It is important to acknowledge that while your studies should be a priority, they are not your only priority.

  • You should also use your planner to keep track of other important events in your life, and the commitments that you already have.
  • Keeping all your dates and deadlines together in one place will help you to get a sense of how your studies can work around your life, and where and when you may be over-committed.

Plan ahead

  • Look for weeks when you have a lot of assessments due at once. These typically occur before and after the teaching recess, and in the last week of the semester.
  • Also look for when important life events coincide with your assessment due dates.
  • Make a plan to deal with these stress points now.
  • Consider which assignments you can start early.
  • Think about whether or not you will need to take time off work, or arrange for someone to help you with your family or other commitments at these times.
  • Put strategies in place now, so that you will be able to focus on your studies and meet your deadlines in the future.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone. You may find it helpful to speak to the Student Counselling Service, or consider requesting an extension from your lecturer or course convenor.

Involve your friends and whānau

  • Some students find it is helpful to feel accountable to someone else. Tell people when your assignments are due, and give them permission to check up on your progress.
  • You may find it useful to set up a study group, or arrange to meet someone to discuss your assignment.
  • If you have made a commitment to someone else, you may feel more motivated to get started because you won’t want to let that person down.
  • Making a Student Learning appointment can also help motivate you to prepare an early draft, so that you have something to discuss.