Time Management/Resources/Using a wall planner, diary and to do list

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Using a wall planner, diary and ‘to do’ list

Time management begins with the use of a calendar or planner, daily lists, and taking the time to write down everything that you must do so that it gets done. The first step involves creating a timetable for the semester or any other period of time about which you are concerned. To do this, you will need to gather some materials.

Use a wall planner

Use the wall planner you got from the student association (OPSA) to record the term and semester dates, when assignments are due, and when the exams are scheduled. Some of this information will be found in the Student Handbook. Some of it will be provided to you as the year progresses.

This wall planner will give you an overview of the academic year.

Use a diary


Image courtesy of Graham Ballantyne

Next, transfer this data to your own personal diary. Enter exams, due dates, and meetings; basically the events that you must do and that do not change.

Go through your class syllabi and transfer important dates and deadlines. Add other important dates and times such as a doctor’s appointments, social activities, and birthdays.

These things may seem simple and obvious, but consolidating all information (academic, course-based, personal, and family) into one helps you keep track of your time and get things done on time.

Use a daily ‘to do’ list

Finally, a daily list should be made each day that includes both academic and personal items prioritized according to their importance. The list items should be small, specific goals such as "read five pages in biology" rather than "read biology."

It doesn't matter what your ‘to do’ list looks like, what's important is that you make one every day. A couple key points to remember are:

1. Write a reminder about things you have promised to do, or things you feel you might forget.

  • Provide enough detail to jog your memory.
  • Use key words such as "call". 4:00--call Judy
  • Provide enough information so you'll understand why you're doing something.“3:00--call Fred G. re: dance marathon pizza party “

2. Set priorities

  • Set time to study and identify the subject or project
  • Block out recreation and leisure time
  • Block out time for chores or tasks that you do on an ongoing basis (such as grocery shopping and laundry)

Create ‘to do’ lists for the next couple days and remember to use them. You might want to share and critique your ‘to do’ lists with a friend or another student in your class.

You must learn to stick to your schedule everyday. These guidelines will help you stick to do this.


  • 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.