Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

A man who does not think and plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.
Confucius BC 551-479, Chinese Ethical Teacher, Philosopher

Guide to Reflective Thinking: My Organization, Planning and Resources Management Strategies

Use the following statements to assess your sense of competence with regard to university studies. Any weak areas indicate an attitude, ability or habit that may be worth developing.

  • I plan my entire semester at the commencement of classesI give top priority to the planning of all my courses, as a whole.
  • I make an accurate, detailed and comprehensive task inventory and assess the level of difficulty of each task.
  • I take note of tasks for which the guidelines will be given later on in the semester.
  • I describe complex tasks in detail.
  • I plan my long-term assignments and elaborate step-by-step schedules as soon as I know the assignment requirements: topic, document research, reading, work plan, writing, verification and presentation.
  • I accurately and realistically estimate the time required to complete each task.
  • I make an accurate and comprehensive inventory of available study time.
  • I establish an order of priority for my tasks based on their deadlines and my personal goals.
  • I reserve comfortable blocks of work time for assignments for which instruction is forthcoming.
  • I record all of the above in a realistic global schedule that is readable at a glance (synoptic overview).
  • I evaluate and adjust my plan on a weekly basisI keep my agenda handy and note things to do as soon as they come to mind.
  • I keep my agenda up-to-date and use it as a daily and weekly guide.
  • As soon as I know assignment requirements I plan my work and quickly get started.
  • As soon as I know assignment requirements I plan my work and quickly get started.
  • I allow at least one hour at the beginning or end of each week to take stock of the situation and plan my activities for the following week.
  • I list my daily and weekly tasks according to their number and complexity: study, documentary research, reading, purchasing books, appointments, etc.
  • I schedule a realistic amount of time for each operation.
  • I schedule regular sessions for long-term advance exam preparation: developing memory tools, interiorization of knowledge, recall, revision and practical exercises.
  • I schedule course-material study time close to the time of the corresponding course (on the eve, on the following day).
  • I use any free brief periods of time to review my notes or prepare for the next course.
  • I organize myself so that my work is completed well in advance of the deadline.
  • I regularly assess the progression of my study plan.
  • I schedule sufficient time for relaxation, recreation, physical activities and sleep.
  • I plan each study and work sessionBefore I start working, I take a few minutes to set clear objectives for my work or study session.
  • I plan an alternating work-break rhythm based on the degree of difficulty of the material and my concentration capacity at that particular time.
  • I prepare each course and ensure prompt follow-up: preparatory reading, pre-formatting and reorganizing notes, developing memory tools, practical exercises.
  • I organize my course handoutsI file documents in a functional order rather than stacking them in the order that they were distributed.
  • I organize it so that I have quick access to all my handouts.
  • I use my computer as a classification tool.

Studying at university is a long-term enterprise. It's a demanding and complex job that requires a lot of time and sustained intellectual effort. Good organization, planning skills, resource management and time management are the keys to success. However, we don't handle intellectual activity like other daily activities. The human brain isn't always 100% available. It has its own rhythms and limitations that have to be taken into consideration for effective learning.

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