Managing your time while studying

The secret to succeeding in your studies is good time management. If you manage your time well you will be able to achieve more and feel in control, which will help to reduce your stress levels.

Good time management when you are studying means:

  • Planning your tasks and activities so as to make the best use of your time.
  • Being well organised so that you don't waste time.
  • Doing the things you have to do while still having time for the things you want to do.

Planning  your work

Use a study calendar to plan your trimester or year, and/or a study timetable to help you plan each week will help you get organised, and give you an overview of what work you need to do.

For a study calendar:

  • Start by filling in all the important dates, such as your course end date and exam dates. Check your course information for these, or go to Key dates or Exam dates and venue information.
  • Fill in deadlines for tasks assignments. You should find these in your course information. If you can’t, contact your lecturer/tutor.
  • Include other important dates, such as birthdays and other celebrations, family commitments, school holidays or important work dates, as they will all impact on your studies. Don't forget to include time for relaxation.

If your course material only has final deadlines for each assignment and the exam date:

  • Work out what you need to do for each assignment and for the exam.
  • Divide what you need to do into manageable chunks then estimate how long each one will take.
  • Set your own mini deadlines for each chunk.

From there you can plan each week. Remember to work out how much time you will need to study each week for your course.

Display your study calendar and/or timetable in a prominent position to remind yourself of the deadlines. It will also serve to remind your family/whanau of your commitments.

Time management strategies - VirginiaTech website (opens in new window)

My daily schedule – Study Guides and Strategies website (opens in a new window)

Studying in the child zone – Learning Support Services Althabasca University website (opens in new window)

Getting the most out of your study time

  • Decide when are you most productive – is it morning, afternoon, or evening? If you're not sure think about whether you're up and ready to go in the morning, or whether you're a night owl. Do the more difficult sections at times when you’re at your best.
  • Plan for study time each day and get into a routine – this ensures you don't get behind, and it’s easier to stick to your studies if you're in a routine. It's also easier for family/whanau and friends if they know when you're available and when you're not.
  • Think about where you’re going to study - it should be a place where you can be comfortable, focused and productive.
  • Ask your family/whanau, friends and colleagues for their support. For example, could they babysit once or twice a week, or get the children from school? Or maybe there's someone work who's also studying, so you could support one another, or someone who could mentor you? You might be surprised to find how supportive some people are if they know you need help.

Also remember to plan for the unexpected:

  • Try to get ahead in your studies so that if something goes wrong, you have a bit of extra time available and you don't get too far behind.
  • At the beginning of the trimester, think about what you would do if the unexpected happened, such as getting sick or your work situation changing.

If you do fall behind in your studies or are not coping ask for help sooner rather than later.

Related information