Hacks for time management

Monday, October 30, 2017
by Megan Honsberger

Futurama Fry meme, which reads

It’s getting to be “that time of year” again, UWaterloo!

You know the one – filled with coffee, major assignments, late nights, tears, regrets, more tears, more coffee, and a whole lot of chaos. Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) on November 9th from 6-11 p.m. at the SLC will be a great event to push through some tough work together!

But what if we told you that with a good time management strategy you could get a handle on things in the meantime? And away we go!

Plan out due dates

This should go without saying at the start of every term you should be getting yourself oriented with everything that's due in one, convenient place so you can plan accordingly. Handwrite on a four-month dry-erase board like this (or nab a cheaper UW-swag one from the bookstore). Alternatively, you could take advantage of the free and easy Google calendar, which has the added bonus of scheduling notifications and printability!

Didn't have the time at the start of this term? Don't stress! Start now.

Calculate assignments

No, this isn’t an advanced function of your TI 30X II.

OK, maybe you've got the term planned, but no map for individual assignments! Now what? For bigger assignments (think: lab reports, research essays, lit reviews, etc.), check out Seneca College's assignment calculator, a supremely useful tool for time management on an assignment level. Input the type of assignment and dates and it generates a step-by-step outline for getting work done in a timely manner. 

Sample assignment timeline provided by Seneca College Assignment Calculator

Pom power

You've got your assignments written down and a step-by-step plan, but are you wondering how can you manage your actual time when you finally sit down to complete them? Never fear, we've got you covered.

The Pomodoro Technique is a tried-and-true time management tool loved by the University of Waterloo. Essentially, you set a timer for a 25-minute Pom, a small, manageable chunk of work time, and take a 5-minute break at the end of each Pom. Check out more of what we have to say on the history and strategy of the Pomodoro technique in a previous blog post.

Digital moderation

Finally, it's time to address the elephant in the room when it comes to time management: digital moderation. Yes, most coursework is done on the computer: but push notifications for various social media can be, well, pushy. Constant interruptions in your attention can and will, without a doubt, hurt your overall productivity. Consider unplugging from social media for a short time while you work (for example, during a 25-minute Pom) and ensure that your phone is on silent so you won't be tempted to break focus!

For more tips and strategies for managing your time come to LNAP 2017 on November 9th at the SLC to get you through the rest of term!