Managing workload

Find out how to manage workload when you’re working on a group project or assignment.

Procrastination can be a big issue when you’re working on an assignment, but it’s far worse when working in a group. You need to be clear about the timeline of your assignment, as leaving things to the last minute can affect the outcome for your whole group.

Include buffer time for each assignment

Set aside around 25 percent of the total time you have for the assignment in case there is a problem, or the work takes longer than expected.

Allowing extra helps to make sure that the group tasks are finished on time—and that a last-minute printing issue doesn’t make your whole group fail.

Plan your assignment timeline from the start, rather than the finish

If it will take you a week to do each stage of an assignment and the assignment is made up of three stages, aim to finish in three weeks.

Don’t start work three weeks before the assignment is due—you will need extra time to discuss the assignment and put it together, and it’s a lot harder to do everything last minute for a group assignment.

Have mini-deadlines for each stage of the assignment

At your group meetings, set tasks for each group member to complete before the next meeting.

Setting these mini-deadlines helps you to understand the progress the group is making and keeps each group member accountable for their work. This means that if a group member fails to finish a task, the rest of the group is able to take steps to fix the problem.

Be realistic with timing

When planning your timelines, remember that everyone in your group is busy and might have three other assignments due around the same time.

You can make allowances for this when planning the group’s work—for example, if someone has clashing deadlines towards the end of the assignment, then they could do more in the early stages. Or if you know you aren’t going to do any work during the mid-trimester break, let your group know early and make a plan for it.

Take a look at a sample assignment timeline.