Time Management: How to Make a Weekly Schedule

Adam S. Executive Functioning Coach and Study Skills Tutor of Prepped & Polished, LLC in South Natick, Massachusetts teaches you how to build a weekly schedule and manage your time more efficiently.

1. Start with your obligations
2. Then fill in Homework Time
3. Make sure you include time for fun

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Transcript (PDF)

Full Word-for-Word Transcription

Hi, guys. Adam S. here, with Prepped & Polished in [inaudible: 00:03],
Mass. Today, we are going to talk about how to build a schedule. It’s
really tough to keep everything in your head when you get into high school,
college. Organizational tools can be really valuable, if you use them:
Daily planners, log calendars; really valuable tools. You really want to
get yourself a good planner to start, planners and assignment notebooks.
You want to try and find a planner that has a 30-day view and a 7-day view.
Then you want to plug your big events coming up into the 30-day view, and
then look at those a week at a time and line them up in your 7-day view.
We’re going to talk a little bit about what that looks like. Let’s take it
over to the whiteboard.When it comes time to make your weekly schedule, you want to start by
filling in the stuff that you have no control over; they’re your
obligations. The time’s fixed, you have to be there. Basically, your job is
just to show up. That’ll be stuff like class, your history class, 9:00 to
10:00, math class, or practices for soccer; extracurricular activities,
appointments. That’s the skeleton of your schedule, and then you’re going
to plug the rest of your time in around that.Since school is your Number 1 priority, the next thing you want to think
about is homework. How do you think about how much homework time? A good
rule of thumb is you want 1 to 3 hours of homework time per hour of class
time. Say you’re taking 4 classes, and they each meet for 1 hour, 3 times a
week. You’re looking at 12 hours in total class time. That means you want
to budget for anywhere from 12 to 36 hours of homework time. That might
sound like a lot upfront, and you’re probably not always going to need that
much time, but you want to budget that much time so you know it’s there if
you need it.How are we going to use that time? Say I decided that this is going to be a
2-hour homework block. What I want to do is look at all my syllabuses for
my classes and make a list of all the homework I have to do for each class
that week. Say that I have math numbers 1 through 20; history, read pages
70 to 85. Keep going on down the list. Then you want to get a rough idea of
how much time each of these assignments is going to take. This is something
you’ll get a better sense for as time goes on. A good trick is to do a
small portion of it. Say you have to read 15 pages for history: Set a
timer, read 5 pages, stop the timer; see how long it took you, and then
divide that by 5. Say it took you 20 minutes; 20 / 5 = 4 minutes a page.
You have to read 15 pages; it’s going to be about an hour. You want to
budget for an hour of history reading, and then plug that into your
schedule in that homework time.How do we decide which homework to do when? You really want to prioritize
by a due date. If history is not due until Friday and math is due on
Tuesday, you want to plug math first; make sure you get math done Monday
night so it’s done in time for Tuesday, because you know you’ll have later
in the week to do that history homework. Another important point is to
think about breaking up larger projects into smaller projects. We can talk
about that more in a later video. If you have a big paper coming up, you
want to break that down into 1, 2 . . . maybe even 3 separate pieces, where
you do an outline, a draft, edits. It’s really overwhelming to try and do
any big project all at once, but if you can break it down into its
component pieces, and then take each piece and put that into a day in your
schedule, it’s much more manageable.It’s also really important to schedule fun stuff, too. When you think about
your schedule, if you know that playing Xbox is really important, make sure
you make time for Xbox. It gives you something to look forward to, it makes
the schedule more fun, and if you don’t make time for it, you’re just going
to take it out of other time when you’re supposed to be doing homework.
It’s really important to know yourself. Give yourself time for your
obligations: History, math, soccer, time for homework, and then time for
fun. It’s going to take you a little bit longer the first couple times you
do it, but it gets a lot easier, and in time, it becomes second nature. By
the second half of the semester, you won’t even think about it, and your
life is going to be a lot easier.

Those are the basics of building a schedule. Remember, you want to start
with your skeleton; your obligations. That’s your class time, your
extracurriculars, activities you have to go to. Then fill in your homework
time. Prioritize your subjects by due date, and try to assign realistic
time blocks to each assignment. Then make sure you include time for fun
because that’s important too. All right, guys. We’ll talk to you next time.

How do you currently manage your weekly schedule? Which of Adam’s tips did you find most useful?

Post your tips/comments below.

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