Tuesday, November 6, 2012

School Week: Planning

So to kick off this week, I will describe a little bit how the classes are set up, and explain how I put together my planning.

I registered for 2 different classes this year. I have 6 papers to hand in in each class, up until the end of April. I have specific deadlines to respect for the papers. If they are not met (even once), I'm out. After that I'll first sit for the exams mid-June, then again at the beginning of October. Right after this second round of exams I'll start next year's classes. I sit twice for the 'same' exams (=same program) because the first is just for the degree, the second to work towards a national certification. If all goes according to plan, I'll repeat that for the next three years, and then work on a thesis for another three years, and then graduate and receive the certification :)

Now I'll take you step by step through my planning process. I realize how boring that might sound to some people, and can literally hear the footsteps of my readers leaving... I'll try to add some picture to spice things up though :)
To start on planning this project, I first worked out how much time I could spend on it each week, and when that would be. I jumped to my 'distance degree' project page in the 'Projects' section of my Chameleon. The section already existed since that's also where I did all my research before I actually registered. I wrote down my usual (and optimistic...) working hours, set aside two/three days for 'sports', and figured I could study for 2 hours 2 nights a week, plus a good 7 hours on Sundays. At that time I hadn't realized that I'm not able to study for 7 hours anymore... but anyway it amounted to 11 hours a week.

Then I printed out a yearly calendar to use only for this project, and wrote down all the papers hand-in dates. I figured I would start planning backwards from them, since they are the only thing 'imposing' me a rhythm of work.

From there, I looked into each class what chapters needed to be done for each paper, and, working backwards for the hand-in date, assigned weeks of studying to each part of the class. I summed it up in a table, because it wouldn't be readable if I put it on the calendar (but if you have an idea around it...!!)

Now I can see what chapters I need to have studied each week, and I know I need to study around 10-15 hours a week to get there.
Each week I go over my plan, to see if I sticked to it or not, and write in my diary what I'm supposed to do the coming week. Of course, it's color-coded, orange for my classes :)

I can haz editing skills

My initial plan of studying only three times a week for longer periods of time is not working out too well for the moment, as I already said, so I find myself working around an hour everyday instead, and more on weekends. In order to keep track of the time spent studying, I use this very nice little application, Timesheet. It's intended for much bigger projects than mine, you can export the data and stuff... I use it because it's very pretty and easy: just press start when I start, pause for break time, then done... then I can see the data for that day, that week, and so on.

That's it for the planning part. So I have a section dedicated in the 'Projects' part of my Filo, with my master plan, and then the more detailed program goes into my diary. As for a lot of things, my phone and apps help me :)

Hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you tomorrow for the rest of our school-week!

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