Writing our project and finishing on time can be a headache for most students who don’t know how to organize their work and carry out their research to meet up with their project timeline. The consequence of this lack of time management is the craze of rush hour that is usually witnessed in schools, especially amongst final students.

How then can you organize your research and your writing to conclude in time and have the space to organize and prepare for your final defense. That’s the essence of this article.

In essence, time management is the ability to organize and plan the time spent on one day's activities. Good time management results in increased efficiency and productivity. It is a key aspect of project management and involves skills such as planning, setting goals and setting priorities for improved performance. As such, it is regarded as a core area of knowledge and is closely linked to areas of scope and cost. As the name suggests, the main purpose of this information field is to develop processes and outputs into the project, which will help the researcher complete the project in a timely manner.

Planning your Research Work:

Research studies come in many sizes and complexity levels There is no universal set of rules that suits each project but there are guidelines that you should follow to keep track of yourself as you plan, study, and write over the weeks. You must finish your project in phases, so you need to plan ahead and take enough time to complete each phase of your work.

Your first move is to write down on a large wall calendar, your diary, and a digital calendar the due date for your research work. Plan back from that date to determine when your library work should be completed. A perfect procedure for achieving this would be to allocate:

  • Fifty percent of your time researching and reading
  • Ten percent of your time sorting and marking your research
  • Forty percent of your time writing and formatting

It's important for you to begin immediately with the first phase of the work.  In the real world, we do internet searches and discover some ideal books and articles that are absolutely essential to our topic — only to find that they are not accessible in the local library.

The good news is that through an interlibrary loan, you can still get the resources (this is mostly for students outside Nigeria). However, for most Nigerians, this might not be the case, but not to worry, just make do with the internet sources you have, just make sure you properly cite and reference all the materials you use. 

Take your time to gather a lot of resources for your project. You will soon find that some of the books and articles you select do not provide any useful information for your specific topic. You'll need to go to the library for a few trips. You're not going to end with one ride.

You will also find that in the bibliographies of your first selections you will find additional potential sources. Often, identifying potential sources is the most time-consuming task.

Timeline For Sorting And Marking Your Research: 2 – 3 weeks

You should try to read at least twice each of your sources. For the first time, perused the sources to take in some information and make notes on study cards.

Read the references faster a second time, skimming through the chapters and putting sticky note flags on pages containing important points or pages containing passages you'd like to quote. Use the sticky note flags to insert keywords.

Timeline for writing and formatting: 1 – 3 months

You don't really expect your first attempt at writing a research work to be really awesome it will require time, effort and iteration?

You may expect multiple drafts of your work to pre-write, edit, and rewrite. Also, as your paper takes shape, you will have to rewrite your thesis statement a few times.

Do not hesitate to write any section of your paper— especially the paragraph of the introduction. It's perfectly normal for writers to go back and complete the introduction after completing the rest of the paper.

The first few drafts need not have flawless quotes. You must refine your citations when you begin to sharpen your work and head towards a final draft. If you need to, use a sample essay just to downgrade the formatting.