The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Time & Goals

Not enough time to get everything done? You might not be prioritizing tasks effectively. Think carefully about what you want to achieve and determine a clear course of action. Use a daily or weekly planner to help you manage your schedule.

Plan

Take time at the beginning of each week to assess your commitments and goals. Check daily to stay on track and add new tasks as they arise. Figure out how long you’re able to concentrate, break up scheduled time into smaller chunks, and don’t forget to give yourself breaks. Use short periods of time—15 to 30 minutes—for preview and review.

Be honest with yourself about your habits and internal clock and plan accordingly. For example, if you’re a late sleeper, don’t schedule study time at 7 a.m.

Set SMART Goals

Specific
State exactly what you want to achieve. Break larger tasks into smaller items.

Measurable
Establish clear definitions to help you recognize whether you’re reaching your goal.

Action-Oriented
Outline exactly what steps you will take to accomplish your goal.

Realistic
Set goals you can accomplish. Be sure to consider obstacles you may need to overcome.

Time-Bound
Decide exactly when you’ll start and finish your goal.

Stay Motivated

  1. Identify your goal. Is it to learn more about the subject? To get a good grade? Both? What you want is also influenced by your expectations for success. If you believe that you’re not very good at math, for example, you may focus on just getting through the class rather than excelling in it.
  2. Think about why you want to achieve your goal. What is motivating you? Identifying this now allows you to remind yourself later what you are working to achieve.
  3. Make specific plans now for maintaining your motivation. These plans are sometimes referred to as reinforcers—rewards that you can use to propel yourself forward toward the goal.