Time Management/Resources/Planning your time

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Planning your time

Planning is the key to managing time effectively.

Planning allows you to take control of yourself and your study timetable.


Time Management

Image courtesy of Anush Wij

Some people like to plan ahead and stick to this plan (planners).

These people organise their time and allocate time to different tasks.

Strategies used by planners are:

  • create an overall plan for the year: get/make a wall chart; mark exam times, holidays, due dates for assignments, mark new things as they come up
  • draw up a term plan: write in assignment dates. Do you have two at the same time? Change one, or plan to do them at the same time.
  • make weekly timetables: enter class times, work hours, family time, commitments, assignments, revision
  • have daily routines: set study times
  • Avoid feeling guilty: allow for flexibility.


Time Management

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Some people like to work to deadlines and work best under pressure (deadliners).

These people find it hard to stick to a plan and often put things off till last minute.

Deadliners are strongly advised to plan; otherwise, their lives will become a mess.

A deadliner's guide to planning

  • draw up an overall plan of your time, as above.
  • make weekly timetables, so you know what you have to do and when.
  • draw up deadline plans for essays, reports, exams, showing the latest you can do something. Figure out what you need to do for an assignment and work backwards from the due date.
  • use buffers to reduce the risk: allow extra time in case of illness or unexpected things.
  • use ‘swill’ time to think about your work. Even if you are working to a deadline, look at the task straight away: find out what you have to do. The task will swill around in your head. You may think about it from time to time, read relevant things, and pick up bits of information here and there. Swill it around and then do it - deadliners have plenty of swill time!

Whether you are a planner or a deadliner, start with most important work at the time that you work best. For some people this may be in the morning, for others in the evening. Plan the most difficult tasks for those times.

Also plan your work area. Big messes are not conducive to productivity.

And don’t forget to plan for a balance between study/ work/personal life – your study will be more effective if you allocate your time carefully to have variety in your day.

Are you a planner or a deadliner?


  • Marc Doesburg, Otago Polytechnic, 2006
  • David McQuillan, Otago Polytechnic, 2007

NOTE: This resource is based on an article produced by the Pennsylvania State University as such any re-use of this article is also bound by the license of the original work.