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Managing your time


Between university deadlines, work responsibilities, exam preparation, social activities and community responsibilities, life at university can get busy. It’s understandable if you feel a little overwhelmed by it all. But, with some planning and time management skills, you will be on your way to being more efficient with your time and able to fit more into your days.

What to do

Plan ahead

The first step in time management is to list absolutely everything that you must do over the next few days, weeks and months.

Then make a note of how much time each task will take to complete. Put all this into your planner in priority order and according to how long each task will take. It’s okay to split tasks up into smaller tasks. For example, rather than writing an entire assignment in one afternoon, you might like to split the assignment into sections and complete the assignment over several days or weeks.

As you complete each task, cross it off your list – and don’t forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how big or small!

Kill off procrastination

Everyone procrastinates sometimes. But if it happens all the time, it can become a problem.

Try to identify the causes of your procrastination. Do you find yourself waiting for the right time or mood? Do you underestimate the time required to complete the task? Do you fear failing at the task?

To break the cycle of procrastination, commit to breaking the habit by taking small, consistent steps and setting realistic goals, such as what you plan to do for the next 10 minutes, then hour, then day and so on.

Minimise distractions

Keeping your mind on the task at hand increases your ability to do the task well. Distractions can be external, such as email, your phone or social media, or internal, such as hunger or tiredness. Identify your common distractions and minimise them to the best of your ability.


There’s a good chance that you won’t always finish everything on your to-do list, make sure you get the most important things done first. Take time to figure out what is actually the most important and the most urgent and arrange your to-do list accordingly.

Break it up

Breaks will keep your mind fresh and your focus sharp. Schedule short breaks every hour so that you get up and move. Consider changing locations occasionally, as long as you know you’ll be productive in the new location too.

Getting support

At Deakin, study support is available to help you develop effective time management and study skills. Students Helping Students at Deakin is a program led by experienced Deakin students who are trained to help you get started at university.

More help and advice

Learn how to set SMART goals

Our range of academic skills articles can help you develop effective study skills.

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