eGuide: Time management

Last updated: November 2018

Time management is an important skill to learn at university. Creating a plan, such as a regular study pattern, will help you manage the demands of university life and still have time to relax.

To manage your time you need to:

  • Identify tasks and commitments (work, study and personal commitments).
  • Divide work into smaller, manageable chunks.
  • Prioritise tasks – think about tasks in terms of daily, weekly, termly and one-off tasks.
  • Allocate time for each task/commitment (it is best to overestimate) and try to stick to a timetable.
  • Complete & Repeat – set deadlines and reward yourself when a task is completed. Then repeat the cycle.

For students’ tips, see the videos Managing your workload (University of Oxford) and Time management (University of Leeds).

 

Time management tools

There are a variety of tools you can use to organise your time. Some are listed below but you can find a more detailed explanation at Getting organised (University of Reading).

  • Academic Diary
  • Online calendar (e.g. Google calendar, mobile phone calendar)
  • Post-it notes. Write each task on a separate post-it note and display on a wall or cupboard. Perhaps colour co-ordinate based on urgency or module. Discard notes as tasks are completed.
  • Timetables. Suggestions are available from the Girton Study Skills Moodle page and Getting organised (University of Reading)
  • Time management apps. Suggestions are available from Lifehack and TopUniversities blog

 

Time management techniques

Eisenhower method – identify what is urgent/not urgent and important/not important, then place each task in the relevant quadrant. This helps to pinpoint which tasks to prioritise.

Shut up and write – (Pomodoro technique) – set up a “Shut up and write” group to help you complete specific tasks. Read Shut up and write by the Thesis Whisperer for more information.

For advice on working effectively read Making more hours in the day (University of Reading).

 

Avoid procrastination

To manage your time effectively it is important to avoid distractions. Guidance on this can be found at Avoiding distractions and staying motivated (University of Reading).

 

Help within College

Library staff can provide support and assistance. You can book an appointment with library staff, or, ask a question via library@girton.cam.ac.uk. Alternatively just ask at the issue desk. The Colleges’ Fellow for Study Skills will also be able to help.

Help With Electronic Resources

Jenny Blackhurst
Librarian
library@girton.cam.ac.uk
t: +44 (0) 1223 338970