Do you ever wonder where the time goes?

Do you feel as if you don’t have enough time for study?

Are you balancing study, home commitments and paid work?

The realities of student life can make it feel difficult to balance your studies with all of your other commitments. Managing your time effectively is essential but it’s one of those things that can be easier said than done!

Here are our top tips to help you make the most of the time you have.

What’s on your ‘to do’ list?

What do you need to do? When does it have to be done by?

Start simple and make lists of what you need to do.

Consider the timescale of each item:

  • Short term (next morning or afternoon?)
  • Medium term (In a week’s time)
  • Long term (End of Semester assignment – you might have a month or longer)

Organisation is fundamental to success in higher education. This means being aware of all of your assignment commitments for the year. Use our Semester planners to record your submission and completion dates for the academic year. Knowledge of this nature will support your planning and this should help to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by your commitments.

Download our planning leaflet for more information on balancing your study time and your personal commitments


Break everything down into manageable steps.

Don’t have “write essay” on your to do list, divide up your tasks into manageable chunks. Make your objectives SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

For example, you might start with “Research a topic for my module 1 essay in the Library tomorrow morning from 8:30 – 11:30am.”



Re-arrange each of the steps from earliest due date and highest priority to those with the least priority.

If you are working on a number of assignments at the same time, download our assignment checklist from Blackboard. It will provide you with a handy ‘at a glance’ reference point so you can see where you are up to with each piece of work. The structure is also designed to support you through the appropriate stages of the essay writing process.


Find the right study space for you

Everyone is different and finding the correct study space for you is important. Working from your room may save you time getting from A – B but it might also be filled with distractions. The library has created designated zones so that you can study in a way that suits your studying style, and caters to your needs, without disrupting others. Have a look at our Study Zones blog post for more information.


Take breaks

Regular breaks are important. A break from screen time is good for your eyes and taking a break from sitting is good for your back. Food is fuel, don’t skip any of your regular meals. Timetable mealtimes, tea and snack breaks or a 10 minute walk along the City wall. Taking a break will help keep you energized and focused on the work ahead.

The Pomodoro technique asks you to spend 25 uninterrupted minutes on a task followed by a short 5-10 minute break. After four blocks of 25 minutes take a longer 20-30 minute break. It can be a simple but highly effective pattern to employ.


Make use of technology

Microsoft OneNote is available on University PCs and has an app for most mobile devices. It allows you to store your to do lists and notes in one place and make them easily accessible via the cloud. Have a look at the OneNote: Getting started video. There are many other note-taking and to-do list products available. Take a look at our Productivity Software page or you could read this Guardian article to discover seven of the best to-do list apps.


Further Information

Click on the “Student Support” link in the top right hand corner of Blackboard and access the Academic Learning Development resources.