Building a Weekly Schedule

Having a weekly schedule is key to success.  There are a few different ways that you can go about creating a weekly schedule.  Although creating a weekly schedule before the semester starts is beneficial, it’s never too late to create a schedule to help you get on track! 

Although you don’t need to create a schedule that coincides with one of these three, these schedule ideas can provide you with a good base to create a schedule that benefits you.


To-Do List

This schedule format is not your basic to-do list.  With this schedule type, make a consistent weekly to-do list.  To put this in perspective, you would have the same “to-do” list on the first Monday of the semester as the last Monday of the semester.

  • This type of schedule works well for students that have consistent due dates on a weekly basis.  
  • This helps to create a more fluid schedule while still maintaining some structure.  
  • When creating this type of schedule, you need to make sure that you allot generous times for all of the tasks you need to complete. 
  • You need to be realistic in how much you are actually capable of doing in a day so that you don’t deviate from your schedule. 
  • It’s also important to schedule breaks, social events, and recreational activities.  If you want to attend game days on Saturday, keep in mind that it will take up a lot of your “social time” for the week.   If you would like to have more social time on the weekend, you need to limit it during the week. 

Hours by Hour Schedule

This schedule keeps you on a regimented schedule week to week.  This schedule is a stricter version of the “To-Do Schedule” where you can schedule in what time of day you will be completing certain projects.

  • This is usually beneficial to students who need a routine to be successful.  
  • This schedule helps you to schedule in some variety into your day, while still maintaining an hour by hour schedule. 
  • With this form of schedule, it is easy to be over ambitious in what you will get done in a week.  This leads to unmotivational periods during the week that causes stress to increase.  You need to be practical with what you schedule for yourself.  
  • Scheduling breaks is important.  It’s not practical to assume that you will work on homework straight through from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.  Taking breaks for lunch and dinner is usually a good way to break up the day.  
  • Also keep in mind that it’s important to think about commute times as well as how long it takes you to get ready for the day.

Create a Weekly Schedule at the Beginning of the Week

Rather than scheduling a continuous weekly schedule for the semester, you can make a weekly schedule at the beginning of each week that is more conforming to what you need to do that week.

  • This type of schedule works best for students who have more variety in due dates in their week. 
  • With this type of schedule, you need to make sure you set aside consistent time each week to create this schedule.  
  • This schedule type could either be a to-do list on each day or an hour by hour schedule each day.
  • Keep in mind with this schedule type that you do not want to be spending too much time organizing each week so that it takes away from your studies.

These are just three ways that you can create a schedule, but there are many more too.  The important thing is figuring out what type of schedule works best for you! You may have a schedule that feels great for you before the semester starts, but then realize that it isn’t as beneficial to your success as you thought.  This is okay!  Just adjust your schedule to be practical for you.  You also need to make sure that you give yourself some grace when trying to stick to a schedule.  It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t have to push some things off until the next day – this happens, it’s just important that you realign to your schedule as quickly as possible.

If you would like some help creating a schedule, please feel free to schedule a Study Skills appointment at guts.wisc.edu/study/ss! Also, check out our Weekly Calendar resource at guts.wisc.edu/resources.

Written by Brynne Boeck


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*This is an opinion post. While the topics described here are mostly based on research, please keep in mind not to assume all of the information described above is factual.

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Receive support in time management and scheduling from one of our Study Skills Specialists. Learn more here: guts.wisc.edu/study/ss