Baylor > Office of Academic Support Programs > Study Strategies > Improving Your Study Skills > Time Management
Planning creates freedom. You may say, "Me? Plan? No way. I don't want to be up tight. I don't want to lose my spontaneity. I want to be free." One way to feeling calm, peaceful, powerful-free- is to have a plan. Often when you are worried and hassled it is because you don't have a plan.
You set the plan. Many times people feel as if their lives are planned by others- teachers, parents, advisors. But if you look to the future, you can choose to see what you are doing now as part your plan for your whole life.
You choose how to achieve the plan. Degree plans may include courses you would not have chosen for yourself. But you can determine how you achieve your goals. Expectations might be determined for you, but how you meet the expectation is up to you.
Planning frees you from constant decisions. Having a study schedule makes it easier to plan guilt free time to spend with your friends rather than constantly deciding whether to study or to play.
Planning and action create your life. Planning alone is ineffective. Nothing in our lives changes without action. The value of planning is that it promotes actions that we consciously choose.
Creating a Weekly Study Calendar
How much should you study?
1. Classify your courses as light, average or difficult.
2. Enter the credit hours of each category into the chart, and multiply by the number in the 3rd column.
3. Typically, this is the amount of study time needed for each type of course.
4. Total all hours in the last column. This is the recommended hours of study per week.
Type of Class # of credit hours Hours of study time
Light X 1 =
Average X 2 =
Difficult X 3 =
Total study hours/week:
Make a plan!
1. Fill in all time slots that stay the same from week to week (i.e. classes, meetings/church, meal times, social activities).
2. Fill in your ideal time for going to bed and getting up.
3. Schedule in specific study times.
A. An hour between classes can be valuable.
B. Set up times to review your notes daily.
C. Study during the day as much as possible.
D. Set realistic goals. Leave "me time" in your schedule.
Did you know? An hour of study in the day is equal in effectiveness to an hour and a half of study at night.
Develop an overview of everything you want to accomplish. Keep a calendar of everything due this semester, this month, this week. Write weekly and daily goals.
Break projects and papers into steps. Determine the steps you need to complete larger assignments and set deadlines for the smaller steps.
Prioritize your tasks or goals. Separate them into categories. First label the goals as urgent or non-urgent, then as important or not important. Complete goals in this order:
1. Urgent and important
2. Non-urgent, but important
3. Urgent, but not important
4. Non-urgent and not important
Use your biological rhythms to your advantage. Identify the times of day when your energy levels are at their highest and do your most difficult work at those times.
Plan 50 minute study blocks with 10 minute breaks. Studying material shorter periods of times over several days is more effective than studying several hours in one day. You will recall more information on the test.
Work first, play later (as a reward). Reward yourself for following a study plan. Blowing off your plan has its own reward -you get to do whatever you want.
Schedule flex time. Have room on your calendar to reschedule items missed because of unexpected delays in your day. Be ready to make a "Plan B."
Carry flashcards with you so you can use wait time to study. Making flashcards is a highly effective form of study.