Time management

  • Time management at university involves looking ahead more than a week at a time to anticipate the bigger picture, such as deadlines clustering at the end of semester, or weeks when you’ll be busy with other commitments. You might not be able to make your life less busy, but you will be able to prepare for what is coming.

    Our top tips

    Good principles

    If you find that time just happens or deadlines creep up on you, it is probably a sign that you need to take more active control of your time. Look at the sections of this guide for good principles of meeting your deadlines, making more hours in the day, and avoiding distractions:

    Visualise your time

    Making your time visual in some way, whether that is on paper or online, is a good strategy as you can break it up and see how it is used more easily. Look at these planner grids and apps for some ideas to try:

    Break it down

    A key part of time management is splitting tasks up into stages and allocating time for them, plus setting mini-deadlines to keep on track. Enter your deadline into the Assignment Survival Kit for a rough schedule to adapt:

    Organisation and efficiency

    Reflect on what is taking you a lot of time and see if there are ways you can make these things more efficient. Look at our pages for advice on specific study tasks, and also see our resources on getting organised:

    Procrastination

    You have made excellent plans, but you don’t follow them. Putting things off may not just be a matter of will-power, it may be a more emotional response to the thought of doing the task. See our page on Procrastination to understand why you do it, and how you can work with yourself, not against yourself:

    Progress not perfection

    Time management strategies need to be personal and adapted to suit your circumstances and life. Adopt a reflective approach and observe what tends to work for you, and what doesn’t. No strategies will work all of the time, so it is more about persevering and making regular forward progress than aiming for perfection.

    Further resources

    If you would like to explore more strategies for managing your time, look at the resources and booklist created by Brookes Library: