• Time Management: Weekly Schedule

    Weekly schedule helps you budget your time wisely

    We suggest the following steps for devising a weekly schedule.  Once you have created your schedule, stick to it, making changes only as necessary.

    • Get a calendar, either hard copy or online, that you can carry with you. If you keep your calendar at home, you will not be able to refer to it, or add it as changes occur. (For example, you'll want your calendar handy if a professor schedules a make-up class or a structured study group leader adds an extra meeting.)
    • Make sure your weekly calendar has each day, or at least Monday - Friday, marked off in hourly or half-hourly increments.
    • Enter the non-negotiable time commitments. If you were doing a budget, these would be items like rent, car payments, etc.  For law students these items generally include:
      • classes
      • job
      • other law school obligations, i.e., ASP tutoring or workshops, legal writing tutorials, structured study groups
      • family and personal necessities that must take place at a certain time (picking up children, walking the dog)
      • commuting time, meal time, etc. (schedule these times honestly--it is not "review time" if you are eating lunch with friends)
    • Schedule several short blocks of time for your daily work including reading and briefing cases, reviewing your notes for class, and any other daily assignments.
      • As a general guideline, plan two hours of prep time for each hour of class. Be aware of how long you actually take to get your work done, and make adjustments if one class is significantly harder or easier than the others.
      • Each hour should include a break of a few minutes, in order to maintain your level of concentration.
      • Be sure to consider when you are most alert (morning/evening) and where you concentrate best (home/library/coffee shop).
      • Plan your hardest work (usually reading your hardest subject) for the most alert time and place that allows you the best concentration.
      • More "active" work such as outlining, reviewing notes, or revising a legal writing assignment can often be done at less advantageous times and places. As always, use your judgment to assign tasks to the time of day when you are likely to be most effective.
    • Schedule time to outline. In a budget, this would be like your automatic savings plan. Start investing in outlines early and it will really pay off at exam time.
      • As a very general guideline, once you have started your outlines, it may take only about an hour or two per week per class to keep up.
      • That said, some topics, such as personal jurisdiction, will take several weeks to complete in class and probably a longer stretch of time to consolidate into your outline.
      • You won't necessarily outline every class every week.  It makes sense to outline at the end of a logical topic or chapter.
    • Schedule break each day to do something other than law school. This can be dinner with the family, working out in the gym, or whatever activity is a stress reliever and a pleasant part of your life.
      • Schedule a block of time off each week--Saturday night "date night," Sunday afternoons, or whatever works for you.  This is your "dessert"--a reward for working hard all week--and can also serve as part of the "rainy day fund" should emergencies arise.
      • Leave some time unscheduled for emergencies and catching up if you fall behind.
      • Don't forget maintenance tasks--groceries, house cleaning, laundry, etc.  At a recent ASP conference, there was a considerable amount of discussion about law students who were literally too busy to shower.  Don't let this happen to you.
    • Your day should begin at a set time and end at a set time.  If you are a late-night studier, that is fine, but set an end to your day and get a good night's sleep each night.