Balancing various different assignments can be tricky for any student. Give yourself the best chance of doing all your pieces of work to the best of your ability by using these time-saving tips…By Rachael Davies
Use the tools available to you
One of the biggest time-drainers in pieces of written work is referencing. Many students (and even academics) look at referencing as a complicated task, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many tools out there to help you, such as citethisforme.com, but my personal favourite has always been the in-built Microsoft Word Referencing tools.
You simply select your preferred style (make sure to check your department’s style guide), and then input the information from each text into the citation list as you go. When you’re ready at the end, hit ‘insert bibliography’, and everything is there for you, already sorted and stylised. What’s more, this tool is perfectly legal to use. Don’t waste any more time manually inputting your citations and leave your attention free for the actual writing.
Find the experts
So often in the library, you see some poor soul wandering at a half-confident pace…and then back-tracking rapidly down the aisle they disappeared into ten minutes earlier. During the prime book-hunting season, there is no room for detours, and no need for it either. Whether it’s finding a book in the library or deciding which lengthy essay to read as a secondary source, ask those in the know to fast-track your research.
Professors and library staff are – shock horror – really quite intelligent people. Asking them for advice based on their experience and knowledge is never a bad plan. At the end of the day, the worst they can do is say they don’t know, and the best-case scenario is you save yourself some time exploring an avenue that they probably know inside out. The academic support librarians are a good starting point for your library needs.
Know when enough is enough
Perfectionism is a noble trait to have, but one that can impact severely on time management. Think carefully about assignment weights – if one piece of work is only worth half the amount of CATS as another, it should only eat up half the amount of time. Plan your deadlines and workload in advance to make sure you’re dividing up your time accurately.
Invest your time wisely and be realistic with yourself about when you should put a piece of work to bed and start the next. Otherwise, knock-on delays can affect you throughout the whole term, or even the year.
Ultimately, try not to stress about how long an assignment is taking. Keeping a calm mind will help you be far more productive than panicking, meaning that you’ll finish the work you need to do quicker. Academics, while important, are not as huge as they seem while you’re doing them – with a little hindsight, it all seems a lot more manageable. Employ these tips to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed and that your work does you justice.
How are you balancing different assignments? Do you have any time-management tips to share? Tweet us at @warwicklibrary, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
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