Backwards Planning

One strategy some find helpful is to plan backwards from the due date.

  1. Choose an assignment or essay that you must complete for one of your courses and enter the assignment due date into your calendar first.
  2. Use the Assignment Task Checklist to divide your preparation time into phases and estimate the number of hours you need in order to complete each.
  3. Locate the times in your calendar that you have identified as times for working on major assignments and essays. Working backwards from the due date and from the final phases of the assignment, schedule the number of hours you have estimated for each phase.
  4. Continue working backwards, scheduling estimated times for each phase until you reach the beginning phase of your project. Scheduling the first phase of the writing process last brings you to a starting date for your project.

Reviewing and revising your initial plan regularly is very important. As their work progresses, most students find the amount of time scheduled for particular phases needs to be adjusted. The better you understand how you spend your time and how much time is needed to complete different aspects of your work, the better you will be able to manage your workload. For example, it may be necessary to shift activities from one part of your calendar to another.