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Using a Gantt chart for planning

A Gantt chart can help you to order your work and meet deadlines. Named after Henry Gantt, who designed it around 1910, it’s a bar chart showing a project schedule. Tasks to be performed are usually on the vertical axis, and time intervals on the horizontal axis.

1 List your tasks

Work out which tasks are required for your assignment, such as an essay. Work backwards from your deadline of the first week of April, assigning blocks of time for each task.

Gantt chart

2 Overlaps and gaps

Make sure that each element overlaps others. For example, planning occurs at the beginning of any project, and there are two kinds: planning what you need to do and when, and planning the content of the essay. As you research and learn more, come back to your plans and refine them. Always leave gaps, for instance before you begin editing, so you can look at your work afresh.

3 Factor in the real world

You might have set aside six weeks to write but what other obligations do you have? It can be helpful to block out time from the Gantt chart in your calendar. Once you’ve blocked out your writing time, protect it fiercely. Do your best to say no to any other assignments, appointments, meetings, coffee dates or housework within those hours. Turn off email. Switch off Instagram. And keep going, no matter how much the fridge is calling to you.

Sanjida O’Connell

17 February 2022


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