Time Management Schedules
All schedules/forms can be found here:
Please Note: Schedules may fail to help if they are not created in the correct sequence, or if they lack sufficient detail. Create the Weekly Schedule first, then use a Daily Schedule for day-to-day work. Update the Master Schedule on an ongoing basis.
An intermediate schedule is a weekly, bimonthly or monthly calendar which lists all your regular activities. Example: sleeping, eating, commuting, classes, studying, exercising, shopping, attending meetings, and work are all relatively fixed activities.
The Weekly Calendar gives you a perspective of what your day, week or month usually looks like. By completing the Weekly Calendar, you can prepare for tasks that are not part of your routine. As a diagnostic tool, it tells you how and on what you spend your time. As a strategy tool, the Weekly Calendar can guide you through the quarter week by week.
To create a Weekly Schedule, it is most important that you record all your obligations during a typical week. Do the following:
- Write down your class schedule, including labs, and your work hours if any.
- Every day of the week, show when you go to sleep and arise. Get the sleep you need.
- Allow an hour for lunch and two hours for dinner. These are times you can use to relax.
- List clubs, meetings, activities that you attend on a regular basis - including weekends.
- Plan to exercise three or four times a week. This is most important for good studies.
- Allow for free-time on Friday or Saturday nights. Show any TV time.
- Schedule time for naps if you tire readily. (Thomas Edison used naps most effectively.)
- The remaining time could be study time. Use a high lighter to mark blocks of time where you are willing to make a study commitment. Now, count your study hours. If they fit the 2:1 ratio, your Weekly Schedule is probably on track. If it's low, add more study time.
- Follow the schedule for a week, and revise it as needed. Make the schedule fit your needs.
Some Comments on Scheduling Study Hours
- The Four-Day Week - Students are sometimes unwittingly their own worst enemy. For example, they may schedule the quarter with no classes on Monday, Friday, or another day of the week. They imagine that this "one day off" will be their day to get everything caught up. Unfortunately, it's usually wasted because it seems like there is so much time. If you have a day off, make yourself study in the morning.
- The One Hour Block - The pervasive feeling is "What can I do in an hour?" The answer is quite a bit, but only if you plan it. It's a good time for low-level priority tasks, light review, floating tasks, short naps, quick trips, a snack; almost anything! Just plan it.
- The Eight or Ten-Hour Marathon - It looks good on the schedule, but in reality, long blocks of time are usually wasted. This happens because it's difficult to stay focused for long periods of time. Instead, break it up into two- and three-hour blocks with a break between.
- The Two or Three Hour Block - This is by far almost everyone's favorite.
Some Comments on Taking Study Breaks
- About every hour or two, get up and walk around for ten to twenty minutes. This is a short, active break. It gets the blood circulating again. It provides a transition from one study subject to another. It's not so long that it will get you out of study mode.
- At the end of the day, take a long two, three, or four hour break. Example: if you get out of class at 3 PM, go to the gym for a workout, go home to relax, eat, talk with friends, read the paper or watch some TV. Around 7 PM, hit the books again until midnight. After a four-hour break, you'll be really ready to jump into your studies again
Short Term Schedules
Construct the Daily Schedule each evening just before bedtime. At this point, you'll have a very good idea of how the next day will go. If you wait until morning, you'll be too rushed to make a plan, and if you don't have a plan for the day, you'll drift. There goes another day.
Refer to the Weekly Schedule just created. Use a small piece of paper and be very specific about the task, study location, time, and duration. Allow time for relaxation. Be realistic: are you really going to start studying at 8:00 AM on Saturday? Break up long periods of study with brief, more pleasant activities. Plan to study when you are most alert. Do more difficult studying first to get it out of the way. Example:
|7:00 - 8:30||home||Get up. Breakfast. Leave for campus by 8 AM.|
|8:30 - 9:00||Library - 3rd floor||Review history lecture notes, look over text underlining. (half hour)|
|9:30 - 11:00||campus||History class|
|11:15 - 1:15||campus||Biology lab (take insect collection)|
|1:15 - 2:30||home||Lunch and rest|
|2:30 - 3:30||Library||Check out library books for term paper (Get 6 references)|
|3:30 - 5:30||home
Peet's Coffee & Tea
|Pick up cleaning. Meet Tom for coffee.|
|5:30 - 6:30||home||Dinner and cleanup|
|6:30 - 8:30||Library - 3rd floor||History - read chapters 5 & 6
Survey chapters, read summaries (one hour)
Underline by section, review underlining. (one hour)
|8:30 - 10:30||Library - 3rd floor||Spanish - study chapter 4
Study grammar (half hour)
Make flash cards (half hour)
Write out exercises (one hour)
|10:30||Head for home|
Another type of short-term schedule is called "Getting Caught Up." Most of us at one time or another, have fallen behind in a subject. The catchup schedule shows how to handle this:
- List all the tasks which need to be done to stay caught up.
- Label the amount of time needed for each and its priority (It's better to complete the most important assignments than those of lesser importance. Chances are the test questions will cover the most important concepts.)
- Select some tasks off each list, catchup and current. These will be used to make up your weekly target list. Be sure to include all high priority tasks.
- Reevaluate. Eliminate some tasks, postpone others, or scale down what you plan to do.
Long Term Schedules
The Master Calendar is a schedule constructed at the beginning of the quarter and completed as the quarter progresses. It records important events such as tests, papers, projects, concerts, three-day weekends, weddings, etc. Because these events can jolt your routine, prepare for them in advance.
As a diagnostic tool, the Master Calendar gives a total picture of the quarter and helps you pace your energy accordingly. At the same time, the Master Calendar can be used as a strategy tool which will guide you through the quarter. Consider altering your Master Calendar by:
- Adding on completion times of assignments, projects and tests and see how these big tasks can be subdivided throughout the quarter.
- Color coding important tasks in red. Circle those activities which can be postponed when the pressure is on. Upon completion, you will be able to see at a glance the dynamics of a particular event.
- Adding in due dates for academic activities during the quarter. Example: planning to write a paper. Set one date for completing research, another date for rough draft completion, and a third date for the completed paper. Stick to your start-up dates.
- Preparing for Finals during Week 10. This means that you must be working on Week 10 assignments during Week 9. When you think about it, finals preparation really begins during Week 8!
Deese, James and Ellen K. Deese. How To Study. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co, 1979.
Lakein, Alan. How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. New York: Peter H. Wyden, Inc., 1973.
Pauk, Walter. How To Study In College (2nd ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.
Raygor, Alton L. and David Wark. Systems For Study. New York: McGraw- Hill, Inc, 1970.
Staton, Thomas F. and Emma D. Staton. How To Study. 6th ed. Montgomery, AL, 1977.