Creating a Weekly Schedule

One of the best--and most important--skills you can learn in college is how to create and manage a schedule.  It can be the key to your success in class, work and relationships.  

A weekly schedule gives you a blueprint to follow for your week.  With many commitments and deadlines, it is vital to make a schedule to allow room for, and remember, everything.  It takes practice, but your schedule has to work for you.  The best ones allow for flexibility, emergencies and adjustments along the way.  Below are some things to consider as you create your own schedule.


1. Use a calendar or planner

Whether you purchase a weekly planner or use an online calendar, create a single place where you put all the important parts of your life: classes, deadlines, exams, meetings, work, etc. Make it a practice to always have it with you, so you can refer to it often, as well as add items as they come up.


2. Start with what you know

Classes and work are likely your two major activities in college. These are also usually known and constant. Then schedule essential daily activities like sleep, eating, and studying. Also, don't forget to allow time for getting ready in the morning, commuting, etc.


3. Class x 2

You've probably heard the rule of thumb for studying: 2 hours study for every hour in class. However, this can vary depending on the subject. Notice how long it takes you to read a chapter or complete an assignment. Even though it won't be exactly the same every time, it can give you a good idea of about how long it will take in the future.


4. Down Times

During the day, you will have gaps between activities. Or maybe a class finishes early. Don't waste it. Take advantage of "down times" to work on a math problem, memorize vocabulary, or start a new chapter. Even a 20 minute break can be productive time. It can also be a great time for review.


5. Break it up

A 30-page chapter can feel daunting, if you try to read it in one sitting. A 5-page paper might seem insurmountable, if you try to write it in one night. Work on assignments in manageable pieces so they don't feel so overwhelming. Take a break every hour to stretch, get a snack or change your setting. This break can help re-focus you, allow information to sink in, or even generate a new idea.


6. Schedule FUN!

That's really should schedule time for fun. Even though you have classes, projects, readings, papers, exams and meetings, a part of your week should also be for fun. So, schedule it. It may seem strange blocking out time for fun, but creating that space means you can go have fun once you've finished studying without feeling guilty.


7. Cramming

We all do it, but it just isn't very helpful. Working on an assignment over several days is far more effective and efficient. Cramming does not allow time to clarify difficult concepts, process information, or edit content. Plus, cramming usually will increase your anxiety and decrease your ability to concentrate, which is not the state of mind you want to be in for success.


8. Find your best times

We all have specific times during the day when we are most alert, effective and productive. Find these times and take full advantage of them. Remember, just because it is the end of the day and you have nothing left to do, doesn't necessarily mean it is your best time to study. Students are often more productive in the morning or middle of the day, when they have more energy.

9. Starting and stopping

If you schedule time to study, you not only ensure you have that time set aside, but you also give yourself permission to stop when you reach the end. Once you've met that time, you can feel okay about stopping. Go do something fun! You earned it.


10. Deadlines aren't enough

If you only write down deadlines, there's a good chance you'll wait until the last minute to get started. Create "mini" deadlines along the way to accomplish tasks related to a project, assignment or paper. This ensures that you can make progress and not leave everything until the end. It also gives you time to revise or revisit your work to make sure you have it right.



11. Exercise and sleep

Sleep and exercise are just as important to your success as studying and work. Exercise can alleviate stress and enhance concentration. Too little sleep affects you alertness, motivation and mood. Make it a point to include both in your week. You'll feel better and do better.


12. Allow flexibility in

Leave room for the unexpected. If you pack your week too tightly, the chance of everything going as planned is slim. Flexibility gives you time for emergencies, extra time required for an activity, or just to have a breather.