Plan your time

Plan your time

Have you stopped to think about the relationship between your academic performance and doing well in your professional career?

Obviously, the objective of each academic year is to successfully pass all subjects, but professional success is a long-term goal. Each semester, various activities will provide you with short-term goals: practical work, projects, tutorials, midterm examinations, etc. If you classify your activities according to their level of urgency and importance, you can organize all your tasks in a table like this:

Urgency-Importance Matrix


It may help to ask yourself regularly: Which box do I spend the most time in?

[toggle type=”” title=”First box”]Tasks in the first box (urgent and important tasks) are the ones that will cause you stress and worry, since they have to be completed right away and are important. Your performance of the tasks in the first box is affected by nerves. You have to work under pressure and there isn’t enough time to change anything or correct errors.[/toggle]

[toggle type=”” title=”Second Box”]If you’ve planned well, the second box (non-urgent but important tasks) is where you will place most of your activities. You should try to prevent tasks from moving from this box into the first box. If you keep working like this, you’ll be able to work without stress and worry, and you’ll perform well. This box is for things that keep you busy, but that don’t cause you worry. There will come a time when tasks in this box move to the first box, but there’s no need to worry if you’ve been working on them already. [/toggle]

[toggle type=”” title=”Third box”]This box contains not-important but urgent tasks. These could be situations that interrupt your plans. It’s a good idea to keep them under control.[/toggle]

[toggle type=”” title=”Fourth box”]The fourth box is for non-urgent and non-important tasks. You should avoid wasting too much time in this box. Usually it contains easy tasks and ones you enjoy doing. You’ll soon realize that you end up in the fourth box due to laziness, and laziness never has a deadline.[/toggle]


Steps to follow when creating your plan:

[toggle type=”” title=”Semester Calender”]It may be useful to create a semester calendar (your advisor can help you). This involves setting dates for:

• Submission of work

• Initial and final exams

• Internships

• Vacations

• Important personal events Once you have done this, you can create a weekly plan.


[toggle type=”” title=”Weekly Plan”]Write down each subject and assign the number of hours you plan to dedicate to it. You can prepare a weekly timetable and look for space for about 20 hours of study a week: each week will differ. Then, on Fridays, you can plan the weekend based on how the week has gone. How should I deal with work at weekends? It’s important to rest at the weekends. It’s a time to be with your family and friends, attend a religious event or take part in social activities, such as volunteering for a charity or social service activities, play a sport or take a trip somewhere. It’s also a good idea to set aside some time for study, depending on how productive your week has been.

• In one weekend, you can’t usually study more than three subjects. Choose which ones you’re going to study.

• It could be the time to go over your notes from the week, look over a textbook, etc.

• Try to revise whole topics already covered in class and make a note of any questions you have so you can try to clear them up during the week.

• Try and catch up with previous topics.

• Take advantage of the time to plan your week with some specific objectives. What should I take into account when planning my time?

• Arrange subjects according to the level of difficulty.

• Don’t study more than two subjects a day.

• Think about the amount of material you have to study.

• As a general rule, do not spend less than an hour and a half continuously studying one subject.

• Make use of shorter time slots to read and complete your notes, clear up any questions, etc.

• Monitor your time. Make a note of the number of hours you study every day and the subjects you study during this time.

• Try to study 8 to 10 hours at weekends. Confirm your timetable with your advisor and after two weeks of work, let him or her know if it’s feasible. You may have overestimated how much you’re capable of and may have to revise your work plan.[/toggle]