R23–1052 MECH/AERO/CIVL31030 Manage your time: Make the most of it!

Library for Educators
4 min readMar 28, 2024


Links to R23–1052 Multi-session request

TLS developed but did not teach this session; it was run as a train-the-trainer event for MACE staff to then teach.

IMPORTANT: Please take attendance with a paper register (get the students to sign in with name and student ID) at the start of the session and keep this for our records at the end. This is so that we can capture how many people came and potentially ask them for more feedback later 😊 You can tell students that this attendance is for Library research use and is not to do with their attendance on their degree programme.

Supporting materials:

  • Slides/materials: Slides with notes for trainers, Jamboard (if you would like to use with larger groups — please create a new board for your session),
  • Practicalities: Setting the room up in groups would be helpful for activities where students are to have discussions.
  • Group size: 70+.
  • Length: 50 minutes
  • Room: Various
  • Discipline: Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering
  • Level: UG 3rd Year

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:


Suggested online resources:

Session plan:

Note: Slides have comprehensive notes about the content accompanying them.

Slides 1–2: Introduction and session outline

Slides 3–4: Reflect on how they currently manage their time

Emphasise that good time management is about developing skills and strategies personal to them. For this part of the workshop, we will reflect on our current time management practices. In groups of 3–4, ask students to share between themselves how they feel they currently manage their time — is there a strategy/tip/software they’ve found particularly useful they could share? Are there areas for improvement? Encourage groups to offer a suggestions or tips.

To close the activity, ask the room for 2–3 suggestions to share with the wider room. Or the facilitator could share a few of their own tips/ challenges so students know it is something we all struggle with at times!

Slide 5–14: Planning your semester

Slide 5: Importance of planning. Acknowledge that they will all likely be practicing elements of good time management, but often when we’re under pressure with our workloads, we can often skip the important planning stage. However this is the stage that can help them make the most of the time they do have, reduce stress, achieve a good work-life balance across the semester, and keep them feeling motivated an in control. It’s important to be organised for their independent project so that they can find a balance between working on it, other commitments and things they like to do to relax and have fun.

Slide 6–8: Prioritisation. Share upcoming semester two deadlines (slide 6), and ask students to spend 3 minutes talking to their neighbour/table about how they might go about planning their semester around these deadlines. Ask for a couple of examples to be shared with the room, acknowledging that it can be difficult to identify what your priorities should be, especially when there is so much work to do and multiple competing deadlines.

One strategy is to break down each assignment into more manageable pieces, which then become easier to organise and prioritise across the semester (slide 7). Write a to-do list, estimate how long each task will take, then work back from each deadline to set smaller deadlines. An urgent/important matrix can be very helpful if you find it difficult to prioritise and decide which tasks are the most important and require more of your focus (slide 8).

Slides 9–10: Visualise. Once they have a prioritised to-do list, suggest that they start to think about they can visualise it to help maintain motivation and focus across the semester. It will also allow them to plan for pinch-pointgs and spot when they may be falling behind on their schedule. Examples are a wall or phone calendar, or Gantt chart (slide 10).

Slide 11–14: Online productivity tools. There are many time management and project planning tools available online that are free to use. Our Library Student Team (their peers) shared about a few of their favourites on the next slides — OneNote, Notion and Goblin.tools.

Slide 15–21: Perform — reduce distractions and increase focus

Next we’ll look at how we can use the time we have allocated to a particular task more effectively by reducing procrastinations, minimising distractions, and looking at tools and strategies to help us to work with more focus.

Slides 16–19: Procrastination. Ask students if they know much about procrastination, use the questions on the slide as a guide. There are no right or wrong answers here, and almost all of us will have experience of procrastinating! Talk through the procrastination cycle (slide 17) and strategies to help break the cycle (slide 18). Signpost to MLE resource on overcoming procrastination which was developed in collaboration with the UoM Counselling Service.

Slides 20–21: Tools and strategies to increase focus. Introduce time blocking, the Pomodoro technique, the Habitica app, and the Library’s Shut Up and Write sessions as some ideas/methods for increasing focus and flow when working.

Slide 22: Personalise your approach

Acknowledge that there are many tools and strategies to help them manage their time more effectively — the key is reflecting on which work best for them. Suggest that they think about mixing strategies, as different things may work best for different tasks or at different times. Whichever tools or strategies they decide upon, remind them that they need to adapt and re-prioritise constantly as new commitments and assignments arrive, and to leave space in their schedule for this.

Ask the students what they will try out following the session?

Slide 23: Library training and support

Share the QR code and link to access further library support on things like academic writing, searching, presentation skills and wellbeing. Shut Up and Writes can be found under the My Research Essentials programme. Remind students that we also host Library drop-ins twice a week where they can ask a Library member of staff any questions on time management and their assignments.



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