It’s November, and that means crunch time before the wonderfulness of Thanksgiving and Winter breaks! Don’t let yourself get beaten down by your workload–prep now so you can relax later.

Break it Down

Okay first things first–mark all the dates of your upcoming projects, presentations, and tests on your calendar. It sounds simplistic but you’d be surprised how quickly things pile up when you’re not expecting them. Then make those days clearly visible on your calendar by making them a different, bright color.
…Red for doom seems appropriate. 😉

“Guesstimate” Your Work Load

Did your middle school teachers use that word as much as mine did?
Sorry, off topic. What I mean is try to guess how much time it will take you to get your studying/work/research done for each of the items you just wrote down, add two to four hours for interruptions, and WRITE DOWN YOUR GUESSTIMATED TIME. Otherwise you will forget.

**TIP: If you’re doing a project with someone else, I would add a considerable amount of extra time, like a few hours, to your guesstimate. Group projects often put more weight on the hard workers, and if you’re making a study calendar, that means you’re it. So save your grade and give yourself some leeway.

Schedule Your Time

Now that you’ve got your time guesstimates and your due dates, it’s time to mark out your work time. If you start now you should be early enough to spread out study for finals and get projects done without a lot of cramming and brain-numbing textbook skimming.

Start by spreading out your subjects based on:

  1. What is due first, and
  2. Which will take the most work.

Obviously these two criteria will determine which things come first, but this is basically up to your discretion–you know how you work best and what takes you longest. Make sure you spread out your work, though, so you don’t end up cramming for any one thing at the end OR suffer from subject burnout.

**TIP: When you schedule your work blocks in each calendar square, schedule play blocks, too, and stick to both. You need both work and play to feel accomplished and human when life gets hectic!

REschedule Your Time

Student Productivity: How to Build Your Fall Semester Study CalendarYou might choose to do every day or every week, but make a regular habit of sitting down and revising your calendar. Maybe you finish a project early–use the leftover time to get a jump on something else. Took longer than you thought to write that French paper? Better allot some extra study time to your Chem class in next week’s schedule.

Cross off Your Finished Work

You don’t have to do this, but I always find it cathartic to scribble out something I’ve finished and give it that final “Hasta La Vista!!!”

Good luck… Remember to hold on to that light at the end of the tunnel–Winter Break!!!