Advice and support for students undertaking part-time studies
Combining part-time study with work or other commitments can be challenging, both in terms of managing your time and sustaining motivation over a longer period of time. You will need to use your time – and particularly your independent study time – efficiently.
Putting thought into how to organise your time to accommodate your studies, your work and your personal life will help you keep your life balanced, reach achievable goals and stay motivated, reminding you of where you want your studies to take you.
It will also be important when picking course options to consider your other commitments to ensure you can attend lectures, tutorials, and any other required events.
Do you use your time effectively?
Good time management is not just about organising your time, but also about using it effectively and efficiently. If you ever feel like the whole day has passed by and you have achieved nothing, perhaps you have a tendency to procrastinate (put off doing work by doing other tasks instead) or become distracted. This is very common, and becoming aware of it can be a good first step in managing your time.
To check your actual use of time, record your daily activities by time-logging them. This will only be useful if you are completely honest. Keeping track of what you spend your time on and how much time particular activities take can be an eye-opener. It will help you identify how you can use your time more effectively.
The sheets below will help you assess how you spend your time and how you can tackle issues like procrastination.
Self assess how you use your time
Ways to avoid procrastination
Start early. Plan ahead. Prioritise
Consider the way in which you typically approach a task. Do you plan ahead and map out practicalities and time allocation, or do you just dive in when it feels right? Is your approach effective? Does it allow you to prioritise? Planning sheets (like the ones below) can be useful tools to manage time, schedule tasks and prioritise.
Plan your week
Plan your time on an hourly basis
Managing the time-consuming process of writing a dissertation will be even more challenging if you have other time commitments as well. How much time can you devote to your dissertation? What are the different stages and tasks involved? How much time can you realistically commit to each of them?
Time to relax and do something completely different needs to be part of your planning – it will make you more effective during your studies.
Setting goals for what you would like to achieve during your postgraduate studies and developing a plan of action will help you to prioritise and use your time effectively. It will give you a framework to help you to move systematically towards what you’d like to achieve, see that you are making progress and as a result you will be more likely to achieve your goals in a time-efficient manner. Further information can be found in the Setting goals section of this site.