Oct. 26, 2020

Academic Time travel

Backwards planning for better balance this semester

Ever wish you could go back in time and remind yourself to start studying? Science may not have unlocked the secret of time travel just yet, but there is a way to move smoothly through time and space this semester – it’s called Backwards Planning – and the best time to start is now.

Four easy steps to time travel:

  1. Get yourself a calendar – Paper or electronic, the method is the same.  Take a look at your course outlines and fill in all your assignment deadlines, midterms, and quizzes, because those due dates aren’t going anywhere. You’ll want to also fill in other immovable dates: whether it’s a weekend trip, a shift at your part time job, or your older sister’s wedding.
  2. Play with colours – Colour code the content of each course. I like to use my favourite colours for my favourite classes, but you may choose to be more egalitarian than me!
  3. The hard fun part –Have a look at each deadline and estimate how long it will take you to do each task. Then, draw a line from the due date back through the estimated days in order to determine your start date. Need help? Try out Assignment Tracker or book with an Academic Development Specialist to get some support!
  4. Get Real – Are you actually going to get your Calculus assignment done while you’re at your sister’s wedding? Probably not. Assess and adjust to give yourself some extra leeway around those special life events and external commitments, and be realistic about what you can actually do in a given amount of time – remember, you’re only a human being and you need to sleep eventually.

So there it is! Sure, this method has a lot less Chaos Theory than your average time travel movie, but let’s be honest, we’re all hoping for a relatively chaos-free semester right?