How to slash time spent on assignments

by Julie Baird on November 10, 2010

Today I want to you to think differently about how you approach assignments. A lot of students struggle with assignments thinking through a lot of different elements at once. They combine thinking about content with typing up their ideas spellchecking as they go and formatting the document.

While this looks like a sensible approach in actual fact, what you’re asking your brain to do is multitask during the entire assignment.

  • Forcing yourself to come up with sensible wordings are still trying to think through the concept and ideas stalls the creative process and makes the whole thing take much longer. Instead, take a bit of scrap paper, or if you really can’t divorce yourself from technology. A completely separate Word document and map out the key ideas that you want to cover in your assignment. Whether you use a list of ideas or my mapping techniques. This allows you to get out of your head, the important points that you want to cover in the assignment. After that, you can decide which order you want to put these into in the actual report. Then when it comes to actually writing the words. You are doing it in small sections around key concepts in the words will flow more smoothly.
  • Having a spell check on file you’re coming up with your words create a distraction for your brain. It forces you to agonize over every word, and I make the whole process more lengthy. Turn off the automatic spell checker and grammar checker in whatever word processing software. You have, but make sure that at the end of your assignment. You do a final spell check before submitting.
  • Formatting as you go is just another way of making the whole thing take a lot longer. Adding pretty pictures and making sure that the font size and the bullet points are all just so is great as long as you have the time. I was thinking about the formatting is best done at the end. That way you can concentrate on having a consistent overall view. The added bonus is that if you run out of time. Also content is there and can be submitted without worrying about formatting if necessary.

So next time you have a report or an assignment to do remember these steps.

1.       Brainstorm your ideas and key concepts

2.       develop your content around the key concepts

3.       spell check and grammar check

4.       format the document, and add your pretty pictures

5.       decide what to do with the rest of the time you have left over

If you are struggling to control your time and get the results you know you are capable of then it is time to take action.

Time Management For Students E-Course gives you tactics to help you focus and reduce the time you spend on schoolwork. So easy! All the tips, tools, and worksheets are handed to you on a silver platter. Check it out at  http://thegradecoach.com/tmfs-promo/

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy November 10, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Julie…these are also fabulous tips for bloggers. I’d love to share this on the Simple & Savvy blog to help our readers be more efficient with their time. Thanks for sharing (I’ll contact you via FB) http://simpleandsavvy.com

Julie Baird November 12, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thanks Kathy, I look forward to chatting with you. You may want to check out my other blog http://www.focusedtimemanagement.com which has time tips for business owners

medical transcription November 16, 2010 at 5:52 pm

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