When I started my first year, I noticed there were quite a few students who didn’t know which assignment to prioritise. In response to that, I thought I’d share how I personally prioritise my workload.
Step 1. Check what assignments I have that semester.
The first thing I do is go through the handbook for each module to check what assignments I have for each. This way, I can see clearly how close together or how far apart they are. Some of them you’ll be able to relax with as it’ll be the only assignment due in that week, but for others, you may have three assignments due in the same week.
Step 2. Check the deadlines.
You would have already skimmed this in the first step, but now you really pay attention to where they all land. I learn visually, so find it easier to add them to my calendar so I can see them clearly. It helps me judge how much time I have for each item. I also write them on a list with the soonest at the top, colour coordinating them by each module.
Step 3. Check the word count.
Just because the assignment is the only one due in that week does not mean it’ll be quick to complete. Check the word count, if it is high, you know you have to prepare more, write a plan, and read more books.
Step 4. Weighing for the module.
If you have several assignments due in within a week of each other, each with a relatively significant word count, look at how much each assignment weighs for the module. For example, I had three essays due in the same week. 2x 2,500-word essays and one 2,000-word essay. Each would need a proper plan. Two of these were worth 50% of the module, but one was only worth 30%. Therefore, I prioritised the two worth 50% first.
Step 5. Pick your favourite!
If by now, you’ve already checked the deadlines, how much prep time you need, and weighing for the module, and you still have two or more to choose from, choose you’re favourite! 🙂 Pick the one you’re the most comfortable with or you feel is your strongest topic. You’re likely to get this one out of the way faster because you’re more confident about it. Having a completed assignment under your belt will also ease the pressure you feel when other deadlines are looming, therefore reducing anxiety.
Step 6. Next, do the hardest one.
Once the easy one is out the way, I always pick the most intimidating one, and then the ‘mediocre’ one. I don’t like leaving the hardest one for last in case I struggle and panic. However, I also like to have an assignment already completed so I feel less tense. It’s about balance, you need to be relaxed enough to do the assignments while maintaining high productivity, sometimes for a few weeks on the trot!
I always did my lecture reading and seminar prep before my assignments. This is just what worked for me. I felt more relaxed knowing I was prepared for my classes, and when that was finished I could take a break and start on my assignments. This was important for me because it meant I didn’t have to worry about completing anything else while I worked on the essays.
I hope this has been helpful!
How do you prioritise your assignments? Let me know in the comments! 🙂