A good timetable is one that it will do much more for you than remind you of when and where your classes are.
Timetable templates are everywhere, right? But have you filled yours in yet? Do you follow it? Does it work for you?
They are meant to be tools that help us, but too often they are something we don’t even like to look at because they represent stress. The problem with most timetables is that they often focus only on class schedules, and do not help us fit in all our other commitments – or time for fun.
Luckily, that’s easy to fix. And you can fix it right now.
Here is a standard template in Word format so it’s fully customisable:
To make it work for you (it is a tool, remember!), allocate time in this order:
- All scheduled classes.
- Other scheduled commitments (EG: work and team sports).
- Wind-down time every evening.
- Reading to do before each of your scheduled classes.
- At least the minimum self-study hours recommended by your lecturer for each subject (broken into smaller chunks of time, if you prefer).
- At least a couple of hours per week for assignment preparation/revision (for whatever assessment is coming up next according to your Assessment Planner). If you don’t have a Planner, there’s a template link at the bottom of this page.
- an hour per week reflection time per subject, to summarise the week’s content and resolve outstanding questions.
- If you can’t find the answer to those questions in your materials, post to your class discussion board, or note them down to ask your tutor.
For best long-term results, try to allocate one entire day per week for rest/recreation only. This might seem difficult, but it will be worth it if you can re-shuffle to make it happen.
You might also need to reshuffle to include travel time and meal breaks.
When you use your timetable, focus only on that one thing.
So you can concentrate fully without losing track of time, set recurring phone reminders for all your timetabled tasks/activities.
One reason that students are stressed about feeling under-prepared is that they underestimate what’s involved. A full-time student load is equivalent to a full-time job. That means you should allocate a total of about 40 hours per week to study. True story.
The good news is that if you can fit all your classes into the hours of 9-5, Monday to Friday, you can have every evening and every weekend off. Woohoo! It’s true. Try it, and find out for yourself.
Of course things outside our control don’t always allow for that type of schedule, but the principle still applies: Study is not meant to be 24/7.
PS: Here’s that other template I promised:
Let me know how you go with your timetable this semester 🙂
If you have a different method that works for you, or other tips to share, please let us know in the Comments.