Time management

As part of your studying, you will need to get organised and practise managing your time. Many of our learners are studying online alongside working and spending time with family and friends.

In this section, the focus will be to explore organisational and time management skills. Getting organised is an important step to effective study. You will need to consider basic organisational skills, when and where to study and the importance of scheduling time in meeting your allocated activities.

As soon as you wake up in the morning, your mind starts to process how much time you have before you need to be in the shower, before you eat breakfast and before you need to be at work or studying. We are all involved in organisation and time management as we fulfil our responsibilities.

How much time do I have?

Consider your average weekday. How much time each day will you put aside to study? Studying online gives you the flexibility to study when and where you want - you don't need to come onto campus to attend lectures.

Activity: Study Plan

Think about, and write down, a plan for how you can fit your study time into your daily and weekly routine. For a 20-credit module you’ll want to spend about 20 hours a week studying. You might have a different study pattern for weekends compared to weekdays. You can then revisit this plan during your studies to keep yourself on track.

Having a plan of action to manage your priorities will reduce pressures on yourself and help you to feel in control. 

Time management plays a very important role not only in organisations but also in our personal lives. It includes (click on the title of each task to learn more):

Plan your day well in advance. Prepare a 'To do' list or a task plan. Write down the important activities that need to be done against the time that should be allocated to each activity. High priority work should be at the top of the list, followed by those tasks that are not of as much importance at the moment. Complete pending tasks one by one. Do not begin fresh work unless you have finished your previous task. Tick the ones you have already completed. Ensure you finish the tasks within the stipulated timeframe.

Working without goals and targets at work or during your studies would be similar to setting out on a journey you haven't made before without knowing how to get there. You would be lost. Therefore, set targets for yourself and make sure they are realistic and achievable.

Set deadlines for yourself and strive hard to complete tasks ahead of the deadlines. Do not wait for your superiors to ask you every time. Learn to take ownership of work. The person who can best set the deadlines is you. Ask yourself how much time needs to be devoted to a particular task and for how many days. Use a planner to mark the important dates against the set deadlines.

Learn to say "No" in the workplace or at home. Don't do everything on your own. Let those around you share the load. You should not accept something that you know is difficult for you. Roles and responsibilities must be delegated as per the interests and specialisations of the person for them to finish tasks within deadlines. A person who does not have knowledge about something needs more time than someone who knows the work well.

Prioritise the tasks as per their importance and urgency. Know the difference between important and urgent work. Identify which tasks should be done within a day, which should be done within a month and so on. The tasks that are most important should be done earlier.

Develop the habit of doing the right thing at the right time. Work done at the wrong time is not of much use. Don't waste a complete day on something that can be done in an hour or so on another day. Also keep some time separate for your personal calls or checking updates on Facebook or Twitter. After all, the human being is not a machine.

What support is available?

The academic calendar is structured to help you plan your time and studies. Our undergraduate and postgraduate courses are scheduled so that each standard 20-credit module runs over 10 weeks. At the start of your module you will be given assignment submission dates, so you can plan when you'll be needing to submit work.

Your tutor will plan live lecture sessions and will aim to schedule them at a time convenient to all students. However, if you can't attend, don't worry. These will be recorded for you to view at a later time.

In addition, the Study Skills team at the University of Derby provide a range of support services: one-to-one help, live webinar sessions and online resources.

The Student Wellbeing team is also on hand to provide support to students on any issue, and provides a confidential counselling service.

Once you are enrolled onto your programme, you will also be able to access resources on this subject as part of the Orientation material within the Student Portal.