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Tips for Staying Organized in Graduate School

During the MS in Communication program, it is extremely important to have good time management planning and to stay organized.

Step One: Review the Syllabus

The first thing you want to do is read the class syllabus and overview of course assignments. This will give you a good overall look of what you are going to need to do in the class.

Step Two: Create a “To-Do” List

You probably do something like this at your work – keeping your list of to do’s, projects, and other tasks somewhere – possibly Google Calendar or Outlook. I use Outlook at work, so decided to use this for school planning also. I have it mapped out basically on a monthly Outlook calendar. There will be the number of week we are in (since that’s what we go by) and then the assignments that are due for each week are entered.

Step Three: Create Time to Completion Estimates to Help with Time Management in Graduate School

From there, I take a look at what needs to be completed when. I’ll estimate how much time for each slot. Sometimes it’s not exact, but at least I am focused on it and the fact that it’s on the calendar helps me focus on it even more. Having these preset timeslots helps a great deal as far as “running the marathon” of the program instead of just running a last minute sprint. I think I am really not a last minute person, so thinking out what I am going to do when also helps me plan the other parts of my personal life.

I also keep a long rectangular tablet aka “the weekly task pad”  (from a favorite online store called Poppin) on my home office table that has the days of the week. I can jot any notes on there or extra reminders for reading, research, and writing – whatever things I need to do that week. Between having the Outlook calendar and notes on my desk, I have a good track of what needs to be done each day and snapshot of the week.

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Christine Tamms is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author
Christine Tamms is a Marketing Associate at Cambridge University Press in New York City where she works on global market research initiatives. She also serves as the NYC corporate communications representative with their UK communications team by providing insight, local knowledge and feedback in relation to all aspects of communication activities. She is a Clemson University alumna and studied at a semester at French business school during her undergrad. Christine is also a member of the New York City Junior League.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.