The Weekly Schedule

The Weekly Schedule - Why You Need One!

By Laura Joyce

I volunteer as a peer mentor with Queen's and many of my mentees have questions around time management and how to reduce the feelings of stress around taking on such a big endeavour while juggling the rest of life! Many of us are distance students because we have other responsibilities: work, kids, family, sleeping (haha), and because of the nature of online learning, it can be hard to not feel stressed all the time when you know it's all right there, behind your computer screen! Or, on the other hand, it can be easy to forget or leave it until the last minute. 

I have suggested to my mentees, as well as various people seeking advice, to try my scheduling idea that I have done throughout my entire degree with success. I create a weekly schedule based on the timelines of my various classes. In the past, I used to write the due dates for everything into my planner, but would often still feel impending doom and stress as well as end up cramming last minute on assignments/readings (or missing them!) I also never felt 'done' and had it hanging over my head, which made me feel guilty when I tried to do other things with my time.

What this 'technique' does differently is that I actually schedule specific things into specific time slots. Instead of saying 'Paper due on Friday' it says 'Do draft of the paper on Monday at 6AM" "Edit paper on Wednesday" "Submit paper on Friday". Every day you can go to sleep knowing that you did everything you need to do to stay on track so it's much easier to take a Saturday morning off, for example, when you know you are done!  Yes, you still need to edit your paper, but you checked off many things today and you know you have time scheduled later in the week with plenty of time to submit. This also lets me stay on top of things. I didn't come into this degree with organizational skills and I know it can be a challenge for many students so I wanted to share. The tricky thing about online learning is that you really need to take it into your own hands; this is what I did, and it worked for me, but I had to try a number of things before I found one that stuck. Don't feel discouraged if you consider yourself disorganized, I was in the same boat! Feel free to use this template, or make your own!

 Schedule Template