Long and Short Term Planning

Long term planning

Use a yearly planner

A yearly planner you can place on your wall or by your desk allows you to plan your work over a Semester and reminds you about deadlines and upcoming commitments. 

  • Place the planner in a position where it is easy to access.
  • Write in the dates assignments are due and exams are scheduled.
  • Work out how long you will need to complete each task. Allow yourself plenty of time.
  • Remember to allow for extra workload. If you have several assignments due at the same time, you will need to begin each task even earlier than usual.
  • Set start dates for each task. Write them on your planner. Draw lines back from the due dates to 'start' dates. Use different colour pens for different subjects, assignments or exams. Doing this will give you a good indication of how much time you have to complete tasks and cue you to start them.

Planning on a weekly basis

Use time slots wisely

Students often think they have 'no time' to study, but many of them think of study time in terms of long sessions (2+ hours). While long sessions are necessary for some uni work, medium and short time slots can be used just as effectively. Different periods of time suit different activities. For example:

Short time slots

Bus and train journeys or lunch breaks are good times for this kind of work. One hour or less is useful for:

  • reviewing lecture notes
  • completing short readings
  • previewing long readings
  • doing problems
  • revising for exams
  • jotting down essay plans
  • reflective journal entries
  • proofreading an assignment

Medium time slots

One to two hours is a good time for more concentrated study. Medium slots can be used for:

  • more detailed note-reviewing
  • reading for courses/ assignments
  • taking notes from readings
  • drafting/editing an assignment
  • revising for exams

Long time slots

More than two hours can be set aside for:

  • working on an assignment
  • completing an extensive amount of reading
  • doing research for assignments
  • revising for exams

During medium and long time slots, divide study time up into one hour sections and take breaks. Try not to study for longer than an hour at a time, as concentration begins to slip. Remember, a well-used 15 minutes is more effective than a wasted 2 hours.

Fill in a weekly planner


Fill in all the main demands on your time: 

  • Uni lectures and tutorials
  • Hours of paid employment
  • Any regular sport, leisure or community commitments
  • Mealtimes and regular family or household commitments
  • Sleep times

When you have written in the main demands on your time, look at the blank time slots that are left. This will help you work out how many hours a week you actually have for study. 

Next, plan time slots to use for uni-related work. Fill in times that could be used as study periods including short, medium and long time slots.

 See next: Common time wasters

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