Now that you have a clear idea of what you need to do, the next step is to break down the assignment into manageable “chunks”. The idea of completing a major research paper may seem overwhelming, but if you can divide the task into achievable steps you will be on your way to success.
Use the chart below to break your assignment into smaller steps. You will want to create steps that can be done easily in one day, and preferably in a single work period. Consider the following example breakdown for a research paper.
|Assignment Task||Target Completion Date||Complete?|
|Read assignment instructions and rubric||October 2||Y|
|Review course materials and choose topic||October 3||Y|
|Library research — find 3 peer reviewed articles and two books||October 5|
|Read and take notes on two articles||October 7|
|Read and takes notes on final article and books||October 8|
|Organize notes; write thesis and outline||October 9|
|Write body paragraph 1||October 10|
|Write body paragraph 2||October 10|
|Write body paragraph 3||October 11|
|Write body paragraph 4||October 11|
|Write conclusion||October 12|
|Write introduction||October 12|
|Self-edit content and organization (use the rubric)||October 14|
|Writing tutor appointment||October 15|
|Edit and proofread assignment||October 16|
|Submit final assignment||October 18|
In the above example, the assignment is divided into smaller pieces, with a manageable amount to complete each day. It is also clear when each task has been completed. A daily work goal like “work on research paper” is not well-defined, and can seem overwhelming. This can make it easy to procrastinate. By choosing specific and achievable goals, you may become more motivated to get started, and you will be able to measure your progress each day. Remember to reward yourself for meeting your goals along the way.
Choose one of your upcoming assignments, and create a work plan modeled on the example above.