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Key Study Skills

Time management

Time management can be a challenge for most people at some point in their study journey.  Here are some ideas that can make time management easier and help you get the most out of your study.

Time management basics


Time management basics


Create a study timetable so you can plan your days. Recognise your preferences and commitments and build them into your timetable:

  • Allocate a realistic amount of time for meals and snacks
  • Put in your regular commitments (lectures, work, sports etc)
  • Work out your best or worst times for concentrating. Try to protect your best concentration times for study.
  • Try out your timetable for 2 weeks. Is it realistic? Revise if necessary to help it work better for you.

Establish a routine: (your brain often works best in a regular rhythm)

  • Set regular times for study
  • Study in the same place
  • Five yourself regular breaks so you can study for longer periods (5-10 minutes per hour)
  • Give yourself at least 1/2 day a week off

Use your diary and wall planner and add:

  • Your main goal - something to motivate you
  • Assignment deadlines
  • Exam dates
  • Major work events
  • Major social events

Notice and manage 'hotspots'. Identify the times when you have a number of commitments.  If you have lots of assignments at a particular point that means you need to start and finish some of the assignments earlier than you would normally plan to.


Set realistic goals:

  • Focus on your long-term goals - from here focus on your most important daily/weekly activities that help you reach your goals.
  • Break up big tasks into smaller parts
  • Reflect on what you want to do and why
  • Set yourself tasks that can be finished in the time you have available

Think about how you can organise your study materials such as lecture notes, handouts, course guides etc.

One of the best ways to save time is to organise your work into folders (names/dated) so you can find your materials quickly.  A simple system for managing your hard copy materials (and e-materials) that works for you can make your study time much more productive.  Think about:

  • Where you can store your folders/notes
  • How to label them so you can quickly identify which folder contains which subject
  • How regularly you'll put away your materials (for later access)

If you choose a folder system - how will you organise a topic into subtopics?

For your hard-copy materials, think about:

  • Creating a folder for each course containing all your printed handouts/slides etc
  • Creating a folder for each assignment you have which includes assignment instructions/notes and relevant printed articles
  • Using a contents page, colour paper or cardboard dividers, sticky notes to arrange the materials into categories or subtopics.

Organising materials like this can take some extra time initially but there is a major pay-off in terms of assignment and exam preparation.  It can also help you feel more confident about your learning.


Think of ways to reward yourself for study done!

Kia kaha!


Time management resources

Find below some resources you may use to plan your time.


Assignment calculator

Successful assignments start with a well thought-out plan.