Every Aug and every January, I made/make my college students mock up a sample schedule.
Classes - in one color
Study time - in another. Two hours outside class for every hour of class. Intelligently placed. Class on a Monday @ 10 AM? It is probably good if you can hit your first study-block within a couple of hours of that. (To review your notes. Write 4-5 sentences that summarize what the lecture was about. Start homework or reading/notes for next lecture) And when planning your study-schedule, pay attention to office hours. Plan your schedule with the intent of using office hours or TA hours.)
Shortly after the lecture is the best place for lecture-summary-time:
Did the prof argue a point? Thesis? Support? Counter-arguments?
Did the prof prove a theorem? What was it? Did he spend most of the class on that ONE theorem? Then it's probably significant. :-)
Was there ANYTHING from the lecture that still doesn't make sense? Make a list. Check office hours. Schedule a visit on your calendar.
Back to the schedule:
Meals/Laundry/Correspondence time daily (email etc) - Put this stuff on the schedule
Clubs/activities? On there!
Do you like to stare at the TV? Put it on the schedule (helps them to see how they are spending their blocks)
THEN - sit and look at your plan. This is always an eye opener. No matter how many times you do it! IT LOOKS FULL BECAUSE IT IS FULL! This is impossible!?! Gasping! Heavy sighs! All that - 50 hours of WORK is a LOT OF WORK! I put this in bold because it is always a shock. BUT it put them in the right frame of mind regarding the pacing of their days. If they are approaching their week with a come-what-may attitude, they are going to be drowning by mid-terms. If they adjust their pacing to accommodate reality from the beginning, things go much more smoothly. They adapt and they sail on through to finals. They are working to be sure, but they aren't bewildered about how much they should be working. And the schedule is the best inoculation against angst and panic.
Really. Everyone has access to a calendar program. This isn't a mental exercise, it's an actual one. Make 'em draw in the blocks. Color code 'em. And then LOOK at it!
Then - this final piece. This makes all the difference when done well:
Reflect on the past week/Plan for next week - a short block for checking your pacing and your weekly plan (30 mins?). How are you doing? How is the schedule working? Do you need to move things around? Now, think about the week ahead: how should you be using your blocks? Big test coming up? Plan the detail for your study blocks: what exactly should you be doing and when? For EVERY block. That way when you look at your schedule and see Tuesday: 11 AM - it already sets a clear objective for that hour. "Problem set 27" or "Read and Summarize Chapter 18" or "Prepare Study Guide for Chapter 27" A clear goal. (And keep in mind, I always told my kids that a 1-hour block is 50 minutes of work and then 10 minutes of getting a coffee/going to the bathroom/checking your phone. A break. Then back to it - to work - uninterrupted.)
The calendar with clear objectives designed on a weekly basis for each hour. My single biggest piece of good advice.
Enjoy your little people
Enjoy your journey