Time management is an essential skill when it comes to making the most of your graduate school experience. Below are some tips and resources to help you find the balance between your studies, work, and making connections.

  • Establish a self-care routine. Set aside some time for exercise, meditation, and hobbies that make you feel replenished. This forms a solid foundation for your success as a student. Read this blog on self-care from Victoria Sellas, MPP Class of 2022
  • Keep the minimum amount of calendars/task lists necessary. We highly recommend using the Outlook Calendar feature as it’s connected with your UChicago email. Knowing you only need to look one place to know everything you have to do streamlines the planning process. 
  • Plan ahead. Use your calendar or a weekly or quarterly worksheet to plan ahead (use this guide to utilize the worksheets). Start by blocking off the times where you are required to be somewhere (class, work, meetings, etc.), then block off time for completing upcoming assignments and other important self-care activities. This will give you a great visual for how much time you have left in your week and can help you stay on task.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Not every task is worth the same level of attention. Are there important upcoming deadlines you need to meet? Which tasks are the most important to your learning and long-term career goals? Plan to complete those tasks first.  
  • Find your rhythm. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you prefer to do tasks all at once or break them down into bite-sized pieces? Plan in advance for how you will approach your tasks and stay consistent. 
  • Block distractions. Technology can be distracting, but it can also be used as a tool to avoid distractions. Try using a program that temporarily blocks apps from your phone (such as Google's StayFocused or Apple's Focusbar app)  during your designated study sessions. 
  • Avoid procrastination. If there is an important assignment you’re really dreading, try sitting down and doing that one first, regardless of how motivated you are feeling at the moment. You may be surprised how quickly you regain interest in the subject, and you'll feel proud of your progress. 
  • Get help from friends. Some students host regularly scheduled study sessions where they can sit and work on problem sets and ask questions. There are also tutoring services available for students. However, when working on problem sets in group settings, try to do most of the problems before meeting to discuss answers—you will need to know the material yourself for exams.
  • Let go of perfectionism. An imperfect assignment turned in on time is better than an incomplete assignment that you spent too much time “perfecting.” 
  • Make time for fun. The meaningful connections you build with your classmates can be just as important as getting good  grades. Make sure you are allowing yourself time to explore Hyde Park and the city, join a Harris Student Organization (HSO), and just hang out with friends. Aim to attend at least one event per week or pick one HSO to join at the beginning of the year that can be a part of making time for fun and community! 

Handouts and Worksheets

Organization Apps 


Online Note Taking

Task List Manager

  • Microsoft OneNote – available through your UChicago CNET ID
  • Google Keep – available online through your UChicago CNET ID
  • Todoist – free app available
  • Trello – available online and in the app store
  • Motion – task list and calendar in one app