Being organised

With university life comes a lot of freedom!  It is up to you to find the right balance between work, play, and rest.

Time management is key to reaching your potential at LSE. Most LSE courses involve a great deal of independent study, and this means you’ll need to think about how best to organise yourself and balance your time. Doing well in your studies obviously requires a lot of hard work, but you should balance that study time with other important tasks like eating, sleeping and doing things you enjoy outside of the classroom

To manage your time well, here are some essential tasks you should do at the start of each term:

  • Enter all your lectures and seminars into your calendar for the term.  This is the basis of your planning.  You can use either a paper diary or use digital tools such as an Outlook calendar or iCal.  Choose a tool that works best for you.
  • Look at your course handbook and find all your deadlines– for example formative and summative essay hand-in dates. Enter those assessment deadlines into your calendar.
  • Think about other essential events (guest lectures, workshops, evening get-togethers, SU events, etc).  Add those events with their location and time to the calendar.

You now have a basic view of what is happening when in order to begin planning and managing your time.

Here are some top tips for managing that time:

  • Make a list of tasks that need to be done that week and the weeks ahead.
  • Start planning. In your calendar, try to allocate a realistic amount of time to each task. Which tasks require a lot of time and which can be done in smaller chunks between other jobs?  And remember that, on average, you should spent around 30 hours a week studying outside of lectures and seminars. Try not to plan too much more (or less!) time that that per week for your studies.
  • Think about places that you can work with minimal fuss and distraction and maximise concentration. Some students prefer working in their dorm rooms, while others prefer dedicated study spaces like in the library.  It helps to have a back-up space that you can escape to, like departmental study spaces or even a coffee shop.
  • If your schedule doesn’t work, don’t give up on scheduling! Change things around. Change where you are working or the times of day that you are working. If you are frustrated with a large task, try working on one of your smaller more manageable tasks. 
  • Think about strategies that make getting started with work easier. Quite often, avoiding procrastination is the hardest part.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard. Think about what is realistic and achievable. If you set unrealistic goals, you will likely disappoint yourself.  Also, making sure you have time to relax and have fun helps you better manage stress and improves the quality of your overall work.
  • Find strategies to help with the times you know you will struggle to concentrate and make a note of material that you may need to return to with fresher eyes.
  • Keeping ahead of the game is the best way of keeping on top of things. Being prepared is actually a lot easier (and less stressful) than catching up tends to be. Your work will also benefit hugely by keeping on the front foot. This will be the case with any of the disciplines taught at LSE.

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