With so much to do, it can be tricky to manage your time well at university, but it’s so important to do so. Good control over how you use time helps you get the grades you want, with minimal stress and without cheating. Below are some common time management problems that UWA students face. For each scenario, consider what the student should do to overcome their time management issue and select the most suitable response.
1. I feel I have to know a topic really well before writing, so I spend a lot of time researching first. Sometimes this leaves me very little time to write. Should I:
a. Not quite. It's better to begin writing early and to alternate writing and research several times. This way, writing will help focus your research and your research will inform your writing. Try again
b. No. It's better to begin researching early and to alternate writing and research several times. Researching provides ideas for writing and writing helps focus research. Try again
c. That's correct. It's best to begin writing and research early on. Alternating between these will speed up the writing process, as research helps shape writing and writing suggests further ideas for research. Next question
2. I write to-do lists constantly, but I still keep falling further and further behind. My lists, however, keep getting longer. Should I:
a. Not necessarily. The problem isn't your lists; it's how long they are. Try listing only your most important tasks so you can prioritise without getting overwhelmed. Try again
b. Good idea. When you list your most important tasks in priority order, this helps you focus on what matters most without getting overwhelmed. Next question
c. Probably not. Trying to do everything at once can be overwhelming. Instead, aim to be strategic. List only the most important things so you can focus on what matters most. Try again
3. I can't focus on writing until just before things are due. I pull all-nighters to meet uni deadlines and get burnt out. Should I:
a. Great idea. Break big tasks into smaller ones and give yourself deadlines for these. You'll get the best results this way and stay healthy. Next question
b. No. You'll produce better work and stay healthier if you break big tasks into smaller ones and give yourself deadlines for these. Try again
c. Not necessarily. Word count doesn't always equate to effort required. Instead, break big tasks into smaller ones and give yourself deadlines for these. Try again
4. I spend a lot of time on each study task to get things perfect. I get stressed because it takes so long that I can't fit everything in. Should I:
a. Not necessarily. Just because you're a perfectionist doesn't mean you have to study part-time. It does mean, however, that you need to learn to recognise when your work is satisfactory and move on. If you still struggle, then consider reducing your study load, but combat your perfectionist streak first! Try again
b. Not exactly. While it's good to do activities to relieve stress, it's also important to learn to budget your time. Part of that means accepting that you won't always be able to do things perfectly and that you may need to stop when things are satisfactory. This way you'll have more time for leisure activities too! Try again
c. Got it. When time is short, it's important to discipline yourself to stop when you've completed one task satisfactorily so you can move to other tasks on your list. You'll fit more in without the stress. Next question
5. I spend hours reading texts cover-to-cover, but when I'm finished, I often can't remember anything I've just read. Should I:
a. Not exactly. While breaks are important (at least every half hour!), you also need to learn to read more actively. Try skimming texts for a quick overview. Identify what you need to read in depth, and take simple notes, jotting down ideas, questions and comments as you read. Try again
b. Afraid not. Frequent use of the dictionary means that you're likely to lose the overall meaning. Instead, first skim texts for a quick overview, identifying what you need to read in depth. Take simple notes and jot down ideas, questions and comments as you read. Then look up anything important that you still don't understand. Try again
c. Good idea. If you skim texts and identify what you need to read in depth, and then take simple notes, jotting down ideas, questions and comments as you read, it will help you see the big picture and understand overall meaning.
You have completed this activity.
STUDYSmarter has a range of services and resources that can assist you to manage your time effectively. You can attend one of our time management workshops during semester time or check out our screencasts on YouTube whenever you want. We also have a Survival Guide on time and task management that can help you to allocate your time wisely.