What you will learn
The key to keeping on track of your studies is to organise yourself - carefully organising your study time so you can juggle family and other personal commitments. This means getting into the habit of planning! Planning is the basis of good time management. It allows you to track what you are doing, monitor what you have already done and how much time you have available to you. Whether it's short-term or long-term planning, creating a plan will give you guidance and direction, allowing you to manage your time more effectively.
At the start of the semester, begin planning how you are going to manage your study load with your other commitments. Use your unit outlines to guide you in the planning process as it will give you a general overview of the whole semester, including assessment due dates. The university calendar is also useful as it shows semester breaks, study weeks, tuition-free weeks etc.
Using planners (such as a calendar or diary) can help you record these dates so you are prepared for what lies ahead.
Once you have noted down the key dates for the semester, start planning for each week. Your lectures and tutorial times for the various subjects are usually scheduled at the same time each week so try and develop a weekly study routine. Your weekly plan should include both study and personal activities, for example:
Keeping a daily plan of all your activities can help you work towards completing your tasks within a set time frame. For example, "Complete introduction to essay " - by planning for this tasks you will hold yourself accountable and make use of your time effectively. You may also want to consider giving yourself a little reward for having accomplished the task.
Planning and organising your study load is important, but it is also important to get the balance right so that you can go from the planning stage and move into actually getting started.
Having goals is a good way to motivate yourself and get you started. When setting goals, consider breaking down your work into achievable goals rather than being overly ambitious. Use the SMART goals method (below) to create clear and achievable goals that you can actually persists with:
Tips for setting goals:
And remember to reward yourself when you successfully complete a task (e.g. call a friend, check emails, get a snack).
The activity below will show you how to tackle your assignment by breaking down your goal (of completing an assignment) into mini-goals, and into achievable tasks.
In the activity place the mini tasks for writing an assignment in the correct order.
Check out tips on some of the tried and tested techniques for time management.
Get into the habit of seeking assistance when you are struggling with your studies. It is best to ask for help as soon as possible instead of wasting too much time trying to solve the problem yourself. Consider consulting your tutor and lecturer in the first instance but also remember that your classmates and friends may also be a great source of help.
You will also want to take advantage of the academic support programs that are offered by the university. For example, the Library offers online programs and workshops to help you develop your academic research and study skills.
And remember, it is important to take responsibility for yourself and your own learning!