Writing a Research Project paper is a multi-step process and each step takes time. By starting early and planning ahead, you can lessen time constraints and reduce stress as your paper becomes due. Perhaps you believe that any management of your writing or research project may stifle your creative or analytical ability. However, time management is necessary for academics because it allows them to define and achieve goals, to establish a balance in their multiple roles, and to ease the anxiety often associated with unclear direction, undefined goals, and lack of balance.
Like it or not, academic life and time management don’t go well together. Many students start writing their project only when deadlines start looming large; those who start early, however, get distracted and fall off the track. Time management is an indispensable aspect of academic writing, and by developing skills to manage time while composing research papers and essays you can improve the quality of your writing dramatically. Time management also helps you dedicate sufficient attention to each part of your writing process, such as researching, organizing, writing, and proofreading. Suffice to say, it gives you a better chance to succeed at your academic writing assignments.
It is however important for students to know how to manage time while writing their project and some of the tricks and tips to manage time while writing research papers include the following:
- Chalk out a plan
Planning is the key to successful time management. Initially, composing a research paper or essay can seem to be an overwhelming task. With proper planning, the task may seem less daunting. Develop a plan that maps out what you need to do and when you are going to do it. Setting a timeline for your writing assignment can help you to devise an effective strategy. Sometimes your writing assignment may not proceed as per plan, but the strategy will enable you to get back on track and proceed smoothly.
- Read instructions carefully
Instructions provide information regarding how to compose your research paper or essay. It is essential that you read the instructions carefully and understand them before proceeding with your writing task. Having knowledge about certain details like the permissible word limit or the approved citation style are important for scheduling time for your assignment. Not following the instructions diligently may result in loss of time and keep you from staying on the schedule. For instance, correcting the citation style halfway through your assignment can be a time -consuming affair.
- Break your writing into small tasks
There are many components of writing a research paper or essay. An effective way to finish your writing assignment on time is to break the components into smaller tasks. It is always easier to set a schedule to manage small tasks and then stick to it. Take one task at a time and finish it before proceeding to the next one. Many components of a research paper or essay act as building blocks for one another. Maintain the order of the tasks in order to avoid rework, which costs your wasting valuable time in the process.
- Take time to do adequate research
Doing research is an inevitable part of your writing assignment. It may seem tempting to plan a schedule and start writing your paper, and do the research as you proceed. However, this approach can prove to be costly in terms of your work quality and time management. It is a fact that you need to do research throughout your assignment, but having a good knowledge of your assignment can help you to proceed confidently. So, do your research ahead and stick to credible sources.
- Avoid procrastination
Procrastination is the archenemy of your time management efforts. Try to find exactly what encourages you to procrastinate. Once you are able to pinpoint the reason, eliminate it from your writing process. If you are distracted by the environment where you work, try to change your working environment. Some people are distracted by noise while others are distracted by having people near them. In case you fall in such a category, consider doing your work in a secluded place. Depending on the reason for your procrastination, try to find a proper solution to avoid it.
Time management is a healthy habit that proves useful in the long run. Motivate yourself to remain on schedule by approving a self-reward after you complete each milestone on your timeline.
There are some Strategies for Avoiding Procrastination when writing your project, these include:
- Break large, vague projects down into clear, concrete tasks. Research shows that people are far more likely to procrastinate when work is vague or abstract. So, instead of planning to “write a book review” on a given day, break down the tasks involved with writing the review (reading/note taking, outlining, drafting, and revising) and plan to complete them one at a time.
- Consider ways to “trick” yourself into completing work before it is due. Create false deadlines or make a commitment with a colleague or your advisor to have a draft done by an advanced date.
- Turn off social media while you are working. Only let yourself check email, Facebook, or Twitter at set times during the day. There are even software programs that will shut down your internet access during certain time of the day.
- Build momentum. If you procrastinate because you fear the terror of the blank page, find ways to start writing that are less formal. Free write, write an outline with details, write a letter to a friend explaining your work, write a review of your unwritten thesis, or write a summary of a source. Just start writing, and momentum will generally build.
- Stop reading and start writing. The old joke is that for graduate students, there is always just one last book to read before they can begin writing their thesis. There will always be one more source; but consider what will it add that can’t be added later, after you have begun writing. Develop parameters and cut-off dates for your research; at some point, you need to stop reading and start writing.