Time Management: Creating a Weekly Schedule

Photo: Nicole Pasia

We all know that managing time is important. But it is challenging to find an approach that actually works. One of the best ways to manage your time is creating a weekly schedule, says UW time management expert, Adiam Tesfay, who works with hundreds of undergraduates each year in her role as Director of Academic Support Programs in Undergraduate Academic Affairs. She adds that each student finds their own way to do this; some like to use electronic calendars and some like paper. Finding your preferred method requires experimentation and becoming comfortable and effective with it requires practice.

Tesfay says there are two main things to consider when making your weekly schedule: How do you block out your time? How do you hold yourself accountable to do the task you allocated for this time? Here are her tips:

Block Out Your Time

Block out time in your schedule to do every single task:

1. Things that won’t change, or set activities, go first

  • Classes
  • Regular job schedule
  • Sitting down to manage your schedule; remember that you have to set aside time for scheduling.
  • Relaxation and rest

2. Studying

3. Extracurricular activities you can fit in

  • These may include club meetings, going to the gym, volunteering, etc.
  • Remember, these are optional so they come after the set activities and studying.

4. Find the office hours for your professors, TAs and tutors and put these in your schedule

Hold Yourself Accountable

Values, Hopes and Outcomes

Adiam emphasizes that knowing your values and understanding your hopes and desired outcomes is key to holding yourself accountable for getting your scheduled tasks done. There is a reason you do what you do. Sometimes this is lofty and sometimes this is practical. For example, your only hope and outcome for passing Chemistry 142 may be to get into 152. This is okay. If you don’t, at all, value passing Chemistry 142, consider why you are taking it. Complete this values activity to get clear on yours.

Weekly Tracking

  1. Indicate a place and/or a person for each study hour each day. This makes it clear where you will be and who you need to show up for. This also makes you feel you need to be there. Use this 6 Strategies for Effective Learning infographic as a guide.
  2. Specific activities. Every week make specific tasks for studying using this 7-Day Study Plan worksheet.

Practice

It takes time and practice to manage time and create your schedule each week. Particularly if you are not used to doing so. Having an experimental mindset helps; create and adjust, create and adjust. Keep at it; you will continue to find what works for you and it will get easier over time.

About the Husky Experience Toolkit

The Husky Experience Toolkit is designed to help you make the most of your time at UW, wherever you are in your university career. The articles address four interconnected dimensions of the Husky Experience: Know Yourself, Know the World, Make Your Way, and Weave it Together.