Planning Study Time

How to manage your study and still have a life!

Why Plan?

Planning will allow you to identify what you need to do and when you need to do it.

Planning will help you to


At the beginning of your study ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I too busy?

  2. Do I know how to set/reach goals?

  3. Do I know what's coming?

Figure1. Questions to ask yourself (from Brueckner, 2011a, 1:48)


Am I too busy?

Non-discretionary activities
We all have tasks that we need to do. The table below gives an estimation of the time required to complete these tasks.

Table 1
Non-Discretionary Activites


Number of hours



  Prep and eat




  Personal hygiene








Note. Adapted from Brueckner, 2011a

Generally, we spend at least 12 hours a day on things we need to do.

Study hours
Be aware of the number of hours you are expected to attend lectures and study for each course.
Generally, at EIT, you will need to spend 10 hours a week on each course. You may find that some courses require less than 10 hours per week while others may need more time.

Work hours
How many hours a week do you spend in paid employment?

Total study and work hours
Add up your lecture/study and work hours.

If your answer is ≤ 56 hours and you do not have excessive family commitments, you should be able to cope with your study.
But, if your answer is > 56 hours, you may find it difficult to find time for the required hours of study.
However, you are the one who knows/decides what you can cope with (Brueckner, 2011a).


Do I know how to set/reach goals?

You can create S.M.A.R.T. goals to improve your study.
SMART goals are
                                  (Brueckner, 2011, 13:31)


Do I know what's coming?

You can use the following planners to keep track of what you need to do:


Assessment Planner

An assessment planner is useful because it gives you dates for the holidays and you can write the due dates for all your assessments for every course on one page.

Keep your assessment planner in a prominent place, for example:

Assessment Planner - Semester 1

Unfortunately, there will be times when you have several assessments due in one week. Your assessment planner will show you where these busy weeks are and, hopefully, this awareness will push you into action well before the assessments are due.


Weekly Planners

Weekly planners are useful for keeping track of what you need to do during the week.

Weekly Planner - Version 1
Weekly Planner - Version 2

When writing a weekly planner start with the tasks you need to do, such as,

Then write down the things you want to do, for example, is important to spend some time (but too much) doing the things you want to do.

Finally, enter your study tasks, such as,


Daily to-do list

Writing down what you plan to do each day can help you feel organised and in control. It can be very satisfying crossing tasks off the list.

There are a number of ways to create a daily to-do list:


Know your energy cycle

Are your energy levels higher in the morning or in the evening?
Try to study difficult and/or boring courses when your energy levels are highest. During your low energy levels, you can concentrate on easier courses or do tasks that require little mental concentration, for example, photocopying or filing.



To procrastinate is to delay doing a task that needs to be done. We often procrastinate even when we know there will be negative consequences as a result (Jaffe, 2013).
While most of us procrastinate from time to time, a study by Ferrari showed that 20% of adults are chronic procrastinators (Jaffe, 2013).

Why do we procrastinate?

(Brueckner, 2011b).


Ways to overcome procrastination

(Brueckner, 2011b).


Studying is a job



Brueckner, S. (2011a, February 7). LBCC- Organizing your study time – Part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Brueckner, S. (2011b, February 23). LBCC - Organizing your study time – Part 2 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Jaffe, E. (2013). Why wait? The science behind procrastination. The Observer 26(4). Retrieved from