A Time Management & Planning Tool

A Resource to Share with Your Students


As someone with ADHD, I have read many productivity books over the years. Whether about managing time, planning projects, managing overwhelm, organizing information, confronting and working through fear, developing writing systems, I read on the topics till the advice started to repeat. So when a student emailed me late this fall asking “I am really behind in all of my classes and so much is due next week. Would you be willing to give me advice/ help me game plan to get it all done?” I was ready with answers. But how to distill those years of reading to give actionable advice to an overwhelmed undergraduate?

As I started to write an email back to this student, worried my advice would just end up being overwhelming in and of itself, I realized what would be most helpful would be a framework that allowed students to work through each step of the planning process one at a time. So I opened up a Google Sheet, and created the Coursework Planning Framework Template (I’m still working on a catchier name!). 

This framework builds on principles found across productivity books and articles to create a workflow that can help students capture, prioritize, and plan their work, while also acting as a to-do list. It’s a one-stop summary of everything that needs to get done and plans on how/when to get it done.

Here’s the steps I identified, which are included in the first spreadsheet in the file.

Follow the instructions through these sheets to make a plan for the remainder of your coursework

Note: This spreadsheet will take some time to construct. But, it will help you accomplish your work with less stress and more clarity
What you’ll need: Have each of your class syllabi and LMS pages open. Consult any assignment deadline sheet already provided to you


Step 1: Capture and Prioritize

  1. Make a list of all outstanding assignments across your classes, along with their due dates, and how many points they are worth.
  2. Use the provided priority key to label each assignment based on how many points it is worth for your overall grade.
  3. Estimate how much time each task will take – to be safe, overestimate how much time you think it might take so you have a more realistic time plan overall.
  4. (optional) List the things you’ll need to finish the task (for example, links to assignment instructions, any related examples or rubrics, research/reading/notes pertaining to the assignment
  5. Proceed to the Hourly Calendar tab Note: You can use the color coding described in the Progress Key to use this sheet as your active to-do list.


Step 2: Make a Time Plan

  1. Fill in all the times you’ll need to be working, sleeping, in class, or otherwise occupied (include meals and self care too!)
  2. Consider the difficulty of the task and when you’re most focused over the course of the day when deciding your schedule
  3. Starting with the A tasks, based on due date, label times you’ll work on each task on the Calendar


Step 3: Accountability

  1. Identify roadblocks that may prevent you from following your schedule
  2. Plan ways to hold yourself accountable to the plan you’ve created Some ideas included in the Accountability Plan sheet


With the addition of the last step, students also develop reflective skills, working to understand what usually holds them back from completing their work, and finding solutions to hold themselves accountable (ADHD books will tell you just how important accountability can be to getting things done).

I was curious how useful students would find this, so I organized a class session with my freshman during the Fall 2020 semester (an online class on the topic of science communication) to go through this framework during our live class and captured their feedback. Students generally reported that the framework was easy to use and follow, and found the exercise helpful. At the end of the term, 10 of the 17 respondents to the end of term survey reported they had used this framework to plan and complete their assignments for the end of their semester.

I’m sharing this framework here for anyone to use! If you have questions about the structure, feel free to leave a comment, or find me on any of the socials @clubkaur.

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