You came back for some more time management skills! Awesome! 🙂 If you’re reading this post before reading Time Management 101, be sure to go back and read. Some of the things we talk about here will really make sense after reading Time Management 101.
This week we are talking about the dreaded college papers and lengthy assignments that we are faced with week after week throughout the semester. They are inevitable, and we can’t get through without completing them, so here are some tips on how to get through even the lengthiest of assignments one step at a time.
TIME MANAGEMENT 102: Assignments
- PLAN YOUR PAPER. This is where the handy calendar comes into play. Go ahead and open a Word Doc. on your computer, type the title of your paper, and save it to your desktop or whichever folder you keep your assignments. Step 1 is complete. Open your calendar, and decide when you will do Step 2-5. By planning time for this, you no longer have to worry that you will have enough time to get it done. Why? Because this is the week before classes start, and you have a whole semester full of time for assignments.
- GATHER YOUR RESEARCH. I usually spend 1 day on this part of a project. Library resources are full of research, but not all of it is relevant to my topic. Instead of just doing it all at once, I focus solely on gathering the best research for my paper. Save all your articles and resources, and be done with it for now.
- READ THROUGH YOUR MATERIALS. Go back to the syllabus, make sure you are on the right track. Re-check all of your resources and make sure they are giving you the info that you need, and then just sit and read them. This is the learning stage. Learn everything that you can about your topic, making notes for things you want to put in your paper. This ensures that you aren’t just writing paper but that you are learning about what you are writing. This is the part that you retain.
- BUILD YOUR PAPER. A lot of professors will give you the headings that they want to see in your paper, use them. This is usually not optional, anyways, and it’s a really easy way to build your paper. Get back out that syllabus and, if available, pull out the assignment rubric. This will help you to know where your points go for this assignment. Open back up that Word Doc. and add in all the headings, sub-headings, page numbers, formatting, and sources. Do this first, and then write the actual paper. Once it is set up properly, you will have a very organized approach at getting the knowledge inside your head and your resources into the paper where it belongs.
- FINALIZE AND REVIEW. I absolutely hate this step. It’s the worst for me. I can’t read papers that I’ve written. So….. what do you do if this is you? You do what I do and suck it up. Sorry…. I don’t have better advice for this, but it does get better! Do about a 10 minutes review of your paper, and then send it to your school’s Writing Center for feedback. If you don’t have a writing center, find another resource: Your professor, another student (be careful. make sure you can trust them.), a mentor. Ask them to proof the paper for you, and consider all of their feedback before the final submission. Again, before turning in that paper, I would strongly suggest going back to the syllabus and rubrics to make sure 100% that you did EVERYTHING the professor is asking you to do.
You can do this! It’s really no big thing! There are millions of students who have walked this path before you, millions who are walking it with you, and millions who will walk it after you. Hang in there, and get studying 🙂