How to Keep Track of Everything
There are two basic tools that will help you plan and organize your time for success. The first is a semester calendar; the second is a weekly calendar. We recommend one of two versions of the weekly calendar - you can pick the one that works best for you.
Tool 1: Semester Calendar
Follow these simple three steps to create a snapshot of your semester that will help you plan backward from each due date. If you have three papers due and a major test in one week, this calendar will help you plan how to get each paper done in a timely manner and be prepared for your test.
Download a calendar template for each month of the semester.
Go to the Office of the Registrar's Academic Semester Calendar.
Record those dates that apply to you (i.e. if you’re taking an eight week class, first & last day of class, last day to withdraw with a “W”) on your Semester Calendar by month.
Take your syllabus for each class and record due dates for papers and projects, exam dates (including quizzes, regular exams, midterms, and the final).
Enter all of the university related activities in which you plan on participating or attending (athletic events, concerts, band trips, homecoming, RSO events, etc.).
Enter all other social events in which you will be participating. (wedding, family activities, vacation, etc.)
Once you have listed all of these events, you are ready to develop your timeline for meeting your deadlines and achieving your goals. With this information in hand, you can build a monthly planner to help you map-out what needs to be accomplished each week.
Tool 2: Weekly Calendar
Your Semester Calendar will give you a good idea of where your pressure points are in the semester. However, you will need to look at your week and make sure that you can accomplish all of your goals. We suggest using the 168-Hr Time Log as your weekly calendar.
The 168-Hr Time Log allows you to understand where your time is being spent. So, begin by filling in the hours/time of your week:
- That all-important fuel which keeps your body going and your mind sharp! SLEEP.
- All your fixed commitments (those events that occur every week such as class, club meetings, work, volunteer hours).
- Using a ration of two hours of study-time for each one hour-in-class, schedule recurring study hours that you can keep each week just as you go to class.
- Look for open times in your schedule when you can pop-in to the library between classes to study and minimize your travel time back and forth to the residence hall.
- Then add the other activities in which you regularly engage: Eating, washing clothes, working, watching TV, working out, playing video games, participating in dorm/house activities, etc. Color-code if it helps you visualize your schedule.
Remember that when life happens and interrupts your planned study times, just trade out some hours from those activities in #5 and stay on track as best you can. The idea is to develop a habit of studying at specified times each week that will enable you to achieve your academic goals understanding that sometimes you have to make adjustments.
Your weekly calendar builds on everything you now know about the demands on your time and the deadlines you need to meet. It is a tool that allows you to focus on the upcoming week so that you don’t let something slip in the rush of going to class, working, and participating in other activities. Taking the deadlines from your semester calendar and entering them into your weekly calendar will allow you to build your schedule around those deadlines so that nothing is missed and you don’t find yourself not prepared for an exam or with an incomplete paper on the due date. No two weekly calendars will be the same, because everyone’s deadlines and priorities are different.