Time Management Guide

This guide outlines three steps to better time management. Although the text is geared specifically to Cégep à distance students, anyone who is taking courses will find it beneficial.

Managing your time means organizing and plan-ning all your activities within a certain time block (days, weeks, months or years).


Time management allows you to :

  • Combine your distance studies with your other activities;
  • Achieve your goals within a particular timeline;
  • Avoid the negative stress of doing everything at the last minute;
  • Reduce the risk of failure;
  • Understand where your time goes.

How to be the master of your time

As you know, you have six months to complete your distance course(s). Besides your work and personal activities, your schedule now has to make room for read-ing, doing exercises, completing homework assignments and preparing for your exam. Cégep à distance courses include four or five assignments you have to send to your tutor. This may seem like a lot of work, but with proper planning, you can do it.

 

Step 1: Planning your session

A good way to achieve maximum planning efficiency is to draw up a sessional overview. The sessional grid below lets you combine all your academic and non-academic activities in one workable schedule.

Here’s what you should do :

  1. Enter all your work-related activities.Guide d’études, le nombre de devoirs à compléter et placez des dates d’envoi sur la grille. Il est important ici de tenir compte des délais postaux nécessaire à l’envoi et à la réception des devoirs.
  2. Using your Study Guide, figure out when all your as-signments are due and write in the due dates. Don’t forget to factor in mailing time.
  3. Write in other known activities (non-work and non-Cégep à distance activities like outings, downtime, household tasks, etc.).

The grid is adaptable, so you can change it as you go along and add activities as they come up. But BE CAREFUL! Don’t overload your calendar to the point that it becomes impossible to get everything done.

Sessional grid step 1

Week 1
du _______
au _______
Week 2
du _______
au _______
Week 3
du _______
au _______
Week 4
du _______
au _______
Week 5
du _______
au _______
Month 1
_______
. . . . .
Month 2
_______
. . . . .
Month 3
_______
. . . . .
Month 4
_______
. . . . .
Month 5
_______
. . . . .
Month 6
_______
. . . . .

Step 2: Planning your assignments

Now that you have a general idea of how your distance education session looks, you have to set exact dates for sending in your assignments. This is an important step because it lets you sketch out the major lines of your weekly planning. This is where you set actual dates for everything you have to do.

Check your Study Guide to find out which chapters are related to each assignment and then write in the exact date you have to submit each assignment.

Homework and exam planning grid

Assignment #__________ Submission date
__________
Note__________
Assignment #__________ Submission date
__________
Note__________
Assignment #__________ Submission date
__________
Note__________
Assignment #__________ Submission date
__________
Note__________
Assignment #__________ Submission date
__________
Note__________
Examen__________ Note__________

Step 3: Weekly planning

Now you have the information you need to work out a weekly planning grid. In this part of the process you create a very specific and concrete hourly grid that you can use on a daily basis and improve and refine over time.
Using your completed sessional and homework grids, fill in your weekly schedules with the nine activities mentioned below. The concept is simple: just reserve enough time in the weekly grid for each task or activity .

  1. Work-related activities
  2. Reading
  3. Post-reading exercises
  4. Homework assignments
  5. Exam preparation
  6. Social, family and personal activities
  7. Household tasks (laundry, cleaning, etc.)
  8. Downtime (meals, relaxing, sleeping, etc.)
  9. Leisure and sports

Weekly grid step 3

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
7 am . . . . . . .
8 am . . . . . . .
9 am . . . . . . .
10 am . . . . . . .
11 am . . . . . . .
Noon . . . . . . .
1 pm . . . . . . .
2 pm . . . . . . .
3 pm . . . . . . .
4 pm . . . . . . .
5 pm . . . . . . .
6 pm . . . . . . .
7 pm . . . . . . .
8 pm . . . . . . .
9 pm . . . . . . .
10 pm . . . . . . .
11 pm . . . . . . .
Midnight . . . . . . .

Tips and advice from your academic advisor

  • Set realistic and measurable goals.
  • Use colour codes for each different type of activity in your agenda (e.g., yellow = sports activities, blue = assignments, etc.).
  • Use a different type of code (e.g., @ = sports activi-ties, & = homework, X = exam, etc.)
  • Plan regular breaks into your study time. Try the schedule used by in-class college courses – a 15 min-ute break every 75 minutes. If this doesn’t work for you, adapt your break/study combination to suit your needs, but make sure you plan for a break during each study session.
  • Review your weekly planning every week, making any changes necessary to ensure you will pass your course(s). Don’t lose track of your goal to success-fully complete your distance study project while maintaining your personal and professional activities.
  • Draw up a new weekly grid each week and refer to it every day.
  • Some people prefer to do the hardest things at the beginning of the session and save the easier things for last (start with a “broccoli” course and end with a “pastry” course). Sound familiar?
  • Feel free to ask for advice from someone you trust. The people around you can be a great source of sup-port and advice.
  • It is better to plan for more time than you need and then readjust afterward.
  • Some people or situations can cause us to waste time. Look at your weekly grid and take note of these peo-ple and situations and try to avoid them.
  • Don’t forget that you can call your tutor for addi-tional explanations. Your tutor is there to help you, and making contact may actually save you quite a bit of time.
  • Beware of the dangers of procrastination. It can be deadly to self-directed study .

You’ll manage your time more effectively if you keep focused on the goals that are important to you.

 

Bibliography

BOUCHER, F. et G. AVARD. Réussir ses études, Service d’orientation et de consultation psychologique de l’Université de Montréal, Montréal, Éditions de Mortagne, 1984.

GUIOMAR, M. G. et D. HÉBERT. Repères méthodologiques, Aide à l’apprentissage de méthodes de travail, Montréal, Éditions du Renouveau pédagogique, 1995.

SONNOIS, G. Découvrez votre méthode de travail, Montréal, Éditions du Rocher, 1991.

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