In addition to lectures, exercises or other planned and scheduled learning events, higher education studies consist of independent work, such as reading, writing and various learning assignments.
The time required for independent work should be considered in your everyday life and included in the day’s programme. Managing your own time is one of the most important study skills. It is also an essential working life skill, so it is good to practise and develop it during your studies. Time management makes studying smoother: when you understand the time required for studying, it is easier for you to find time for other important things as well.
This tool allows you to evaluate and plan your time management skills. You will also find ways to develop this skill, as well as how to start using Outlook Calendar.
Section 1: Estimate your use of time
Do you feel that there is not enough time, or that tasks are left hanging, or do you feel that it is difficult for you to find a daily study rhythm that works? You can start developing your own use of time by first looking at what do you do with your day.
Mark your use of time as accurately as possible in the calendar below for one study week. If you wish, you can also fill out your real calendar, either electronically or the one in paper format!
At the end of the week, you can view your calendar and estimate your use of time by asking the following questions, for example.
- Which day of the week were you happy with, and why?
- Which tasks were done quickly, and which took a lot of time?
- Which things could you spend more time on, and which ones take too much time?
- Which things are most important in terms of your own well-being and the progress of your studies? Are these things on the calendar? If not, where would you add them to?
- Would you like to change something in the way you spend your time?
Section 2: Plan your use of time and start using your own calendar
- Add upcoming course schedules and due dates for tasks to your calendar.
A good framework for time management planning is available in the degree structure found in the study guide or in your IPS, found in Peppi. Have you started using Tuudo? You can see the schedule of your studies in Tuudo’s timetable. You can also combine Tuudo’s timetable with your own calendar. More information and instructions can be found here https://www.tuudo.fi/2021/11/02/tuudo-kalenterin-yhdistaminen-ulkoiseen-kalenteriin/
Make use of colours or urgency ratings to fill in the calendar to highlight various appointments and plans.
- Schedule time for independent work.
At what time are you most refreshed? This time of day should be reserved for the most important independent study assignments. When scheduling your independent work, also take into account your own wellbeing and coping. Learning requires time, including breaks and recovery, adequate sleep, and regular and healthy nutrition.
Write on the calendar as precisely as possible what you plan to do during that time (reading, writing, searching for literature, etc.).
- Add other important and time-consuming tasks to your calendar.
Mark the tasks on the calendar according to their urgency. For each task, estimate how much time you need to complete it. Can it be done quickly, or will it take more time?
- Finally, add other events and appointments to your calendar.
- Stop every now and then to evaluate the effectiveness of your schedule and calendar.
You can also schedule independent work based on your goals. A bigger goal like completing a course can be broken down into smaller and tangible goals such as writing an essay, and further into sub-goals such as searching for literature, writing an introduction, etc.
Also take into account the scope of the course when reserving time for independent work. The number of credits from the course indicates the time required: one credit corresponds to approximately 27 hours of work. The study time planned for the course may include both teaching and independent study. For example, if a 5-credit course includes 24 hours of lectures, 111 hours are still left for independent work.
You can also outline goals using the SMART model: a well-set goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable), Relevant), and Time bound. A good goal would be to “write three pages of an essay on Monday afternoon”. More information about the SMART model can be found in the following video: https://youtu.be/1-SvuFIQjK8
If you find it difficult to take up an independent study assignment, try the Pomodoro technique developed by Francesco Cirillo, for example. In this technique, independent work is divided into 25-minute work periods and five-minute breaks. You will find more information about Pomodoro here. https://francescocirillo.com/products/the-pomodoro-technique
References and more information