Semester and Weekly Planner

Custom designing your semester is crucial to promoting your academic success. As a student there are many demands on your time academically, professionally, personally, and socially. Check out these tips to take charge of your schedule and stay on top of your studies for a less stressful semester!

  1. Looking at the big picture.
  2. Focus on the week ahead.
  3. Prioritizing.
  4. Make it work for you!

Check out our visual resource for Planning Your Success Strategy below!


1. Always start by looking at the big picture.

Use a semester planner to create a full semester visual of all the academic and personal commitments you have that are date specific. Recording your important dates for the semester will give you an overview of your obligations and allow you to plan for your identified busy weeks.

  • Use MUN’s university calendar to input important dates related to course registration, last days to add/drop courses, fee due dates, etc.
  • Use your course syllabus to input due dates of assignments, exam dates, important course content dates, etc.
  • Add in personal commitment dates such a doctor/dentist appointments, weddings/anniversaries, your birthday, etc.
  • Don’t forget to include university-related activities and social events! Including these in your calendar will allow you to plan your time to meet deadlines while still taking part in life outside the classroom. Check out Student Life events for opportunities to add to your calendar this semester.

Make your calendar work for you by having it be accessible for daily exposure. We recommend finding one tool and sticking with it for the whole semester. This could be done through Google Calendar with alerts, a large printed calendar on your wall, or using the ASC’s semester planner ( .pdf or .doc).


2. Focus on the week ahead.

Using your semester planner ( .pdf / .doc), each week develop a schedule using the weekly planner timetable to plot your commitments and stay balanced.

  • First, schedule in all of your day-to-day demands which are time-specific; i.e. classes, labs, meetings, work, volunteer shifts, and social events.
  • Next, schedule in all of your required day-to-day demands that must happen but are flexible for when to book; i.e. studying, course readings, school work, laundry.
    • Tip: schedule your study time when you know you will be most productive. If you’re a morning person, try to avoid scheduling late night study sessions as you’ll likely be tired and have difficulty focusing.
    • Keep your study sessions (blocks of 1-2 hours studying per 1 hour of class) spread throughout the week to maintain focus, allow for study breaks, and have flexibility within your schedule.
  • Don’t forget to schedule some relaxation time as well!

3. Prioritize.

Whether you do this daily or weekly, create a to-do list and prioritize your tasks as those that need to be done immediately, soon, or can wait. When deciding which tasks to prioritize, consider which are due first, are more difficult, are worth the most marks, and will help achieve your weekly goals. Be sure to craft your goals so that they are S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-defined. Learning how to prioritize tasks is essential to managing your time effectively and completing your work in an achievable way.

Try our resource on developing  S.M.A.R.T goals to accomplish and prioritize your goals each week. 


4. Make it work for you!

Review your schedule or task list regularly to make sure it’s working for you. It takes patience and practice to find the time management system that best suits you.

  • Having trouble sticking to your weekly plan?
    • Make sure you’re realistic about the time you’ve allocated to tasks. If you don’t like to schedule by the hour, try a prioritized task list. Reflect on your week and identify when you were most productive and what you may unexpectedly be losing time to.
  • New items with no notice keep popping up?
    • First, double check the syllabus and your online course calendar to make sure that there aren’t dates that were overlooked. Next, designate a few of your weekly flex hours as “flex/TBD” to preplan for these unexpected course demands. This way you can maximize your efficiency to stay on top of your coursework and create bonus free flex time if that week no TBD hours get claimed.
  • Can’t stay awake while studying?
    • One of the schedule items which is often minimized is sleep but this is a big error. A tired brain is not an efficient brain. Be sure to honestly reflect on when you are most efficient; not everyone is a night owl, not everyone is an early bird! Make your schedule reflect your sleep needs and truly invest into good sleep habits.
  • At a loss when it comes to knowing how much time everything needs? 
    • Try using the workload estimator 2.0 created by Wake Forest University. It helps you determine total hours needed for class attendance, reading assignments, writing assignments, watching online tutorials/lectures, creating online discussion posts, and more.

Planning Your Success Strategy [Visual Resource]

Feel like you have more commitments than hours in your day? If you missed the ASC's WebEx session for planning your success strategy, feel free to use our resource below:

 

Looking for more strategies and tips?
Check out MUN's Academic Success Centre online!


References

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. (2021a, June 3). Creating a semester plan. Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. https://algonquincollege.libguides.com/studyskills/semesterPlan

Algonquin College of Applied Arts a Technology. (2021b, June 3). What is a weekly schedule? Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. https://algonquincollege.libguides.com/studyskills/weeklySchedule

LeDrew, C., & Ryan, B. (n.d.). Managing your time and dealing with procrastination. Memorial University of Newfoundland: Blundon Center. [Video]. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://ysu-na.youseeu.com/spa/external-player/1887190/9fac40de1423ce33316a69a1e7ed657a/styled?lti-scope=d2l-resource-syncmeeting-list/

Oregon State University. (n.d.a). Make better schedules. Oregon State University: Academic Success Center. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://success.oregonstate.edu/learning/better-schedules

Oregon State. (n.d.b). Time budget sheet. Oregon State; Academic Success Center. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://success.oregonstate.edu/sites/success.oregonstate.edu/files/LearningCorner/Tools/time_budget_-_fill_-_20.pdf

Oregon State University. (n.d.c). Weekly calendar. Oregon State University: Academic Success Center. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://success.oregonstate.edu/sites/success.oregonstate.edu/files/LearningCorner/Tools/weekly_calendar_-_fill_-_20.pdf

Purdue University. (n.d.a). Due and to-do. Purdue University: Academic Success Center. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://www.purdue.edu/asc/handouts_pdf/Due%20and%20To-Do.pdf

Purdue University. (n.d.b). Prioritizing matrix. Purdue University: Academic Success Center. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://www.purdue.edu/asc/handouts_pdf/Prioritizing%20Matrix.pdf

University of Lethbridge. (n.d.). Homework and free time calculator. University of Lethbridge: Student Success Centre. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://www.ulethbridge.ca/sites/default/files/Time%20Management%20Calculator.pdf

Barre, B., Brown, A., & Esarey, J. (n.d.). Workload estimator 2.0. Wake Forest University. Retrieved December 1, 2021 from https://cat.wfu.edu/resources/tools/estimator2/ 

Western University. (n.d.a). Managing your time. Western University: Learning development & success. Retrieved December 6 2021 from https://www.uwo.ca/sdc/learning/selfhelp/skill_building_handouts/PDFs/Time%20Management%20Strategies/Managing%20Your%20Time.pdf

Western University. (n.d.b). Time management self-assessment. Western University: Learning development & success. Retrieved December 6, 2021 from https://www.uwo.ca/sdc/learning/selfhelp/assess_your_skills/time_management_selfassessment.html