Because differences are our greatest strength

6 steps for breaking down assignments

assignment 3 time to break it down

By Amanda Morin

assignment 3 time to break it down

When kids have a big project or assignment, it can be hard for them to figure out how to get started and come up with a plan to see it through. That’s especially true if they have trouble with organization or time management.

Preparing and breaking down an assignment takes a bit of time. But it’ll save both you and your child time during the project since your child will be better able to work independently. These step-by-step tips can help you and your child break down projects into manageable chunks.

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1. figure out how much time your child has..

Count backward from the project’s due date to see how many days your child has to complete it.

2. Figure out how long each work session should be.

Estimate how much stamina your child will have for the kinds of work involved. Compare how much time is available with how long your child can work at a stretch. This helps you figure out how to help your child “chunk” the work, or do a bit each day.

3. Write down each task.

Work with your child to write down on index cards every task the assignment involves, from going to the library to designing the report cover. For each task, ask if your child has any questions or concerns. Write them down on the back of the card.

4. Put the task cards in order.

Help your child decide what comes first, second, etc. For instance, doing research comes before proofreading the paper.

5. Assign a deadline for each task.

Work backward to come up with reasonable due dates. Address your child’s questions as you create the schedule.

6. Review your child’s progress.

Check in regularly to see how your child is doing and if the project is on schedule. If not, help your child revise the plan.

For more tips, find out how to break a writing assignment into chunks .

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About the author.

Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

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Ginny Osewalt is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.

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How to Break a Project Down into Tasks

Last updated on: March 1, 2023

How to breakdown projects into tasks

When was the last time you finished a project without doing overtime or rushing to meet the deadline?

Or every bigger assignment seems too complex to tackle, and has so many moving parts, that you don’t know where to start?

What if we could help you find a new approach? One where as soon as you finish the first task, others topple over with ease.

In this article, we’ll show you how to maximize your productivity during projects, and how to breeze through them without missing any deadlines. And all that by breaking a project down into tasks.

Table of Contents

In what ways can you break down a project?

The way you break down projects into tasks will largely depend on the type of project you’re doing. As a rough estimate, there are three ways to go about this:

However, not every project is clear cut, and a lot of them will be in-between these categories. Which is why we can look at the process itself and make custom project breakdowns to suit our individual needs.

How to break down a project into tasks

The whole process consists of identifying what tasks that make up your project, their dependencies on one another, and the time constraints. Once we know all three, we can make up a solid breakdown process.

In short, these are the steps you need to take to break down projects into tasks:

Step 1: Identify the tasks

This seems redundant at first, but think about it: How do you know what constitutes a task?

In our personal life, it’s simple: “make your bed in the morning” is a task. “Answer the morning emails” is another one.

However, professionally, the lines get a little more blurred. As it turns out, there can be thousands of different tasks with different dependencies. How will you know which ones get priority? How do you implement them in a smooth-flowing work schedule?

Here are a few tips on how to recognize and form tasks:

Identify tasks by their completion time

You can identify tasks based on the time it takes to complete them.

Usually, you’ll want to break down a project into tasks that’ll be finished within a reasonable timeframe. The longer they draw out, the more the deadlines and overall productivity suffer. This is also a good indicator of the task being too big or complex.

There are several commonly used guidelines to determine how long a task should take:

These three guidelines are just scratching the surface. Task completion times will vastly depend on the industry you’re in, project type, its overall complexity and much more. One thing you can do is make an internal assessment with your team for each task and go from there.

If you have time tracking software like Clockify when a workweek is up, you can look over the time estimates, actual times spent on the tasks and use that information to make more accurate assessments in the planning stages.

Identify tasks by their importance

If you’re having trouble identifying tasks, start out by asking which steps need to be performed for the project to be finished?

Breaking down a project according to its crucial tasks helps you divide it into larger chunks first. It also automatically identifies milestones (which we’ll talk about later) and gives a headstart on breaking down those chunks into bite-sized tasks.

For example, within the software development industry, it’s well known that task breakdown relies on crucial milestones that need to be passed in order for the software to be considered finished.

assignment 3 time to break it down

Identify tasks with input from the team

If you’re managing a team and don’t want to make your own rough estimates for fear of mistaking, consult your teammates.

After all, they’ll have the best insight into which tasks are crucial for the project, as well as the time required to finish them.

A designer, for example, knows how much time it’ll take for a logo to be created as well as the steps needed to consider the task done (research, color exploration, concepts, test logos, etc).

Similarly, a QA analyst will know how long it takes to write up bug reports and how many in a day she can do.

When in doubt, ask your teammates.

Identify tasks by the “definition of done”

Lastly, you can identify tasks based on the so-called “definition of done”. Instead of trying to finish a task perfectly, you work on it until it is in a good enough state to be checked off. This practice is especially common within the Agile model, in software development.

But, this notion can be expanded to other industries as well.

The “definition of done” is a set of agreed-upon criteria between team members when a task is done well enough to be considered finished/ready. This means you can identify tasks based on the amount of work required to achieve the best result without having to go overboard.

This method addresses task identification by setting clear work boundaries.

Step 2: Look at task dependencies

The second step in project breakdowns is to find out which ones take priority over others. For that, we need to look at the way the tasks correlate with each other.

For a simple example, if you’re asked to paint a wall, you know that you need to buy paint first.

The same principle applies to your task scheduling. You must identify tasks that are dependent on each other’s completion. This is crucial for several reasons:

Step 3: Set milestones

Once you’ve broken down the project into tasks, you need to create a framework for them. This is where the milestones come in. When you’re planning a road trip, you chart out where you should be the next day, three days from now, and a week later. Then within that schedule, you plan out sights to see, look for gas stations and motels along the way.

It’s the same for projects.

There should be a milestone depending on your overall completion deadline: every week, every two weeks, every month, etc. Using that timeframe, you can sort the tasks and see if any of them are too big or too small. Milestones give another perspective on the schedule, shedding new light on how you formulated the tasks.

This does wonders for task identification, as it’s not uncommon to wrongly assume how long a task will take. For the same reason you can also first set the milestones, and then identify individual tasks.

Best ways to tackle tasks

This final section is dedicated to how you can handle your projects and tasks effectively. The methods listed here will add the final touch to your project breakdown and ultimately test out if your task identification is on point.

Use them as a way to perfect your task management skills and improve.

Time blocking keeps your workflow on track

This is a method in which you define the amount of time it’ll take to finish each task, and then make a schedule according to these times. As great as this works for personal time management, it’s also a tremendous help when organizing project work. It’s very simple to follow:

The second step can go even smoother if other team members provide more experienced input for times related to their field of expertise.

For example, a QA tester will know more precisely than a project manager how long it will take for her to write up, say, five reports. Similarly, the designer knows how much time goes into logo design (the research, concepts, and finding a style).

However, sometimes a project requires more flexibility, and you simply can’t keep to a very tight schedule. To ensure your whole schedule doesn’t go off the rails or breaks through deadlines, just keeping two or three steps planned out ahead will be enough.

Project templates save you time

When you have a lot of the same or similar projects in a row, what you want is to set up a project template.

After breaking it down into individual tasks and milestones for the first time, it’s smarter to keep a template, as it saves time and effort. Not to mention that your team can simply dive into work immediately.

In Clockify, you have the option of making a custom project template (or several), which you can save for later use across various projects you might be handling.

clockify project template

Time management skills help overall

On our blog, we’ve already discussed the importance of time management. Honing this skill, in particular, helps your task and project management in several ways:

Overall, time management is an indispensable skill to obtain. And if you can employ some time management apps or desktop software to aid you with it, all the better.

To summarize

Breaking down a project into tasks is a far cry from just jotting down a list of tasks that need to be completed. As we’ve explored, it comes down to correctly identifying tasks, learning how to assess the time needed to complete them, and how to create task dependencies that will ensure smooth sailing within the team.

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Marijana Stojanovic is a writer and researcher who specializes in the topics of productivity and time management.

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Free time tracker.

Time tracking software used by millions. Clockify is a time tracker and timesheet app that lets you track work hours across projects.


Clockify time tracker

Assignment Calculator: A time management tool for use with writing assignments

assignment 3 time to break it down

Break your assignment into steps

Use the Assignment Calculator to break down your writing assignments into a series of manageable steps -- each with a separate due date.

All you need to know is the date you will start working on the assignment (be realistic!) and your due date. 

Read through your assignment guidelines and note requirements such as citation style and page limits.

If your topic is broad (e.g. "write an essay about healthcare") then narrow or focus your topic before you start researching. .

For more about narrowing your topic, try:

Gather research from credible sources to develop your topic. There are many places to search for credible information, including the SFU Library or Google Scholar.

Review the information you find to understand your topic. You will want to pay attention to relevant beliefs, trends, thoughts, and facts, giving more emphasis to the kinds of information your assignment asks you to focus on. 

For more on finding and evaluating sources, see:

Create an overall statement that both summarizes your research and indicates the significance of your main claim or argument.

Not every research paper needs an argumentative thesis statement, but if you’re asked to take a position on a topic, then your thesis statement should also be debatable.

Remember that an effective thesis statement presents both your main claim and your central reasons for making that claim. 

You can always adjust your thesis statement as you draft your paper.

Looking for more?

Outline the main sections and/or paragraphs you plan to write about in your paper. 

Each section or paragraph should tie in with your thesis statement.  In your outline, make notes about how each section of your paper relates to your thesis statement. 

Also note which facts, articles, and/or evidence you will use to support your claims.

Refer to your outline and expand your ideas into complete sentences and paragraphs.

The writing doesn't need to be perfect -- just focus on getting your ideas written and solidifying the key points of your paper.

Note the research sources you think you will write about and/or use as evidence in your paper in your outline. Be sure to include where you found the information, who the author is, and when the source was published. 

Revision takes time.

In this step, look again at your thesis and make sure your paper advances your argument. At this point you might need to make structural changes.

Where revision asks you to look at the structure, organization, and overall argument in your paper, editing is about taking a close look at your sentence structures, transitions, and the concision of your writing. 

For more detailed tips and examples:

Make sure that all your sources are properly integrated and cited. This step is important for ensuring academic integrity.

Review the style, clarity and flow of your writing. Focus on individual sentences and look for common errors in sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, or usage. Read your work out loud to help you catch mistakes. Printing out and checking a hard copy can also help you to notice typos that you might miss on the screen. 

Finally, format your paper to fit all your assignment guidelines.

Submit your assignment, and you're done!

Remember that your instructor will provide you with helpful feedback on your assignment that can help you to improve both your writing and your writing process for future work. 

If you ever get feedback that is unclear to you, you can  bring it into the Student Learning Commons  for discussion with one of our Peers or Graduate Writing Facilitators. 

Book a consultation with the Student Learning Commons  at any of these stages to get more support. 

About this tool

These general steps will guide you through the process of writing most research-based essay assignments.

However every assignment is a little different -- so always refer to the your specific assignment guidelines, check with your TA or instructor if you have questions, and use your best judgement about which steps are necessary for you!

Further resources and more information

Looking for more types of assignments?

The University of Toronto Scarborough's Assignment Calculator  includes steps for literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, lab reports, poster presentations, and more.

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UGA Today

Break large tasks down into more manageable pieces

assignment 3 time to break it down

Six steps to help you get organized instead of overwhelmed

When you are faced with a big task, it helps if you break the task down into smaller, more manageable parts. This will help you avoid stress and procrastination. People who procrastinate often comment that when they wait until the last minute, they feel overwhelmed, and the task seems insurmountable. By setting priorities and breaking the bigger project into smaller tasks, the work is more manageable and less intimidating.

Here are six ideas for breaking down tasks:

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5 Apps That Help You Break Your Tasks Into Steps

Delegate tasks the smart way! Check out these apps that can help you get your work done seamlessly.

Breaking your goals down into smaller steps increases your chances of completing them. By organizing your work in steps, you can get a clear idea of where you're heading, and you can see what you're accomplishing.

But it takes practice to use this technique effectively. A lot of steps make it overwhelming. Too few, and it lacks a clear starting point. Here are some apps that make it easy to break your tasks into steps!

1. Goals On Track

Goals On Track is a goal-setting program for desktop and iOS devices. Its Sub-Goal software helps you take your goal and break it down into concrete steps. On top of that, Goals On Track offers templates to help you create action plans for your goals. The whole program is based on actionable steps.

Goals On Track offers multiple ways to organize and view your tasks. It also provides tips and guides to help you construct your task list in an effective way, including help segmenting your tasks properly.

Download : GoalsonTrack for iOS (Free, offers in-app purchases)

2. Habitica

Habitica is a great way to gamify your life and your goals , but did you know it can also help you segment your task list? You can add checklists to your Daily tasks, as well as your To-Dos.

Best of all, Habitica will give you greater rewards for a task if you also completed its checklist. This is a great incentive to always segment your tasks.

You can also semi-automate the process if you have recurring tasks with similar steps. First, create a private Guild. Then create a Challenge in that guild, and add To-Dos for each step. Add it by rejoining the Challenge, then leaving it as many times as necessary.

Download : Habitica for iOS | Android (Free, offers in-app purchases)

CanPlan is an iPad app that helps you set clear goals and concrete plans. The University of Victoria designed it to help students stay on top of their assignments, but it works for any task list.

You can track your progress by looking at the checked-off steps. Since the steps are part of the main task, you don't need to do any extra steps to do this. You can also visualize your task with photos, or use inspirational photos to help keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Lastly, you can sort your tasks into categories. Then you can view by category instead of seeing all your tasks at once. This helps you focus on your priorities.

Download : CanPlan for iOS (Free, offers in-app purchases)

There are a lot of to-do list apps out there, and many of them will let you add sub-tasks, but Quire excels at it. You can view all your tasks in the List view, but you can also assign each task a priority level, and group them into one or more sub-lists.

Each sub-list creates a tab, so you can use your sub-lists as steps, with each tab representing a task. You can view sub-lists one at a time to avoid being overwhelmed by a long list. It's also got tons of tools for scheduling, task assignment, and more.

Best of all, this software is free and works on any mobile device or web browser.

Download : Quire for iOS | Android (Free)

5. Nested Task

The main reason that adding steps to your tasks helps increase productivity is that it helps you focus. By setting a clear starting point and order of priority, the task feels more doable. Nested Task is an Android app that emphasizes a streamlined, focused structure.

Nested Task creates a minimalist to-do list , only showing one specific task or its steps. This way, it avoids overwhelming you with a long list of micro-tasks. The features list is also streamlined, which helps you focus on actually accomplishing your tasks instead of tweaking their settings.

You can track your progress using the points system. Assign each task a point value. This value can represent the importance or difficulty of the tasks. It's up to you! Nested Task will keep track of how many points are left for each project.

Download : Nested Task for Android (Free)

Maximize Productivity With Chunking

Breaking your goals into smaller chunks will help you gain a sense of priority and focus. It also improves your overall productivity. If you struggle with an overwhelming to-do list or just crave more organization, these apps can help!

Once you have practice breaking your tasks into segments, you can bring that technique to other tools, such as Microsoft Office programs, as well!

The PBIS World Book

assignment 3 time to break it down

Break Down Assignment

Why should i do it:.

When should I do it:

How do I do it:

Resources & Support for technique:

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Break It Down by Lydia Davis

Break It Down Assignments, Projects & Reading Homework

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How to Easily Break Up a Huge Term Project or Assignment

How to Easily Break Up a Huge Term Project or Assignment. Your guide to avoiding assignment overwhelm.

How to Easily Break Up a Big Project

Your guide to avoiding assignment overwhelm.

Essay Writing & Proofreading Checklist

This checklist will guide you through the process of:

Choosing a subject

Creating your draft

Revising your essay

Proofreading step-by-step

Getting it ready to submit

This easy-to-follow guide will lead you through the entire process quickly and efficiently.

Picture of our Free Essay Checklist printable laying on a desk

* Disclaimer * Some of the posted links are affiliate programs. By clicking these links, I may receive monetary compensation. This will not alter the price or change the buyer's experience.

You have a huge assignment, but that’s nothing new.  Every other week you’re given a massive project to complete for one of your classes.   This just means that you have even less time .  Where do you even start?  How do we tackle this?   Do you jump in head first, or is there a better way?

Today I want to discuss how to easily break up a big assignment.  This is the basis of task management, an essential skill for college and university students.  Because let’s face it, there is not enough time in the day, week, or semester to get everything done. 

All students have this problem.  I’ve had it.  You have it!  It has existed since the beginning of the concept of the post-secondary institution!

What we are going to do is we are going to break this project up into manageable pieces .  This is, so we don’t get overwhelmed and bogged down with the massiveness of it all.

So, where do we start? 

This article will cover exactly how to break up a big assignment into manageable pieces.  We will walk through it step-by-step, so you can apply this to your routine and get the best outcome possible.

This process does not have to be reserved for term projects.   Use this simple task management method whenever you feel overwhelmed to take on an assignment or even a busy day.

Create an amazing essay & proofread it with ease! A simple, stress-free essay is just a click away.

Create an amazing essay & proofread it with ease!

A simple, stress-free essay is just a click away.

How to Break Up a Big Project or Assignment

The beauty of this method is that it can be applied to any point you are at in the process of creating your project.  If you want the best possible outcome, you can use this method for your next term project right from the start.

If you have been toiling away and are having difficulty keeping track of all the moving pieces, this system is excellent at organizing the mess.  Don’t save this method for some abstract future assignment.  Apply it now to all your homework, and you will see how effectively it can keep you on track.

Start by making a list.

The first thing we will do is break this assignment into a simple list.  Sit down and think about the project.  Think about all the steps needed to do to complete it.  Now, break up the assignment into what you have done already and what you still need to do.   Then, write down the steps up to submitting your work.

How to break up a big project or assignment.

Let’s use an essay as an example:

Decide on a topic

Do your research

Write an outline

Write 3 paragraphs


Thesis statement

Keep editing!

Hand it in.

When you are told to write an essay, your stomach might drop.  That is a big assignment and a huge time investment.  But, any one of these tasks is manageable.  Turning your essay into a simple task list like this may motivate you to actually work on some of these pieces.  This easy first step will help to guide you through a clear path to completion.

For extra essay-writing help, check out our book on essay writing.  It is available in both digital download and paperback versions.

Break up your list into single-task items.

A student working on a big assignment at a standing desk.

From here, we can break up each of these items into single tasks.  For: “decide on a topic,” You might break it up into:

Think up 5 topic ideas.

Brainstorm supporting arguments and other associations.

Choose a topic.

Continue to break down the rest of your list until there are simple tasks you can finish in a 15-minute sitting.   If you are looking at bigger items like editing, you can just add them to your list as:

Editing paragraph 1

Editing paragraph 2

As we continue to work through each of the steps, you might find that you can break them down even further.  You have the freedom to update this list and add new tasks at any time.  Sometimes things become more clear as you work the process.

Give each item a timeframe.

Add the amount of time you have to work on each of these sections.   For example, you might give yourself 10 minutes to decide on a topic.  Then another 10 minutes to brainstorm all the supporting arguments you can think of.  Finally, you might give yourself another 5 minutes to reflect on what you have come up with and choose your topic.  Your list will look like this now:

The Easiest Essay - Book Cover.png

Think up 5 topic ideas (10 minutes)

Brainstorm supporting arguments and other associations (10 minutes)

Choose a topic (5 minutes)

Continue down your list and add timeframes to the rest of your tasks.  Remember, you can always adjust the time later if you need to.

If you think any tasks will take longer than 15 minutes, you will want to break those into smaller sections.   That might mean creating new tasks or adding several entries for the same job like we did for editing.

You don’t have to do it now.  Keep this in mind as we work through the rest of the steps.

Choose somewhere to start and tackle that task.

Let’s start at the beginning.  Take the first 10 minutes and write out all the topics that come to mind.  If it only takes you 5 minutes, awesome!  Still, take the whole time to think of different angles you might consider.  Write them down as they come to mind so you can review them later.

Spend the full 10 minutes really thinking about the topic.  Grab a coffee before you start, and use this as the quiet time before the storm.   Don’t rush through this step , even if you feel like you finished early.  If you have nothing to write about after a couple of minutes, try expanding the individual ideas.  If you can think of related topics or different perspectives that you feel are strong, add them as well

Continue on to the next task once the time expires.

In our case, we spent the first 10 minutes thinking of topics we would like to use, so expanding those ideas to flesh them out will most likely flow naturally.

If you are struggling with the next task on your list, you can do them in any order you want.   This usually applies to someone a little further in the process, but it can still apply here.  Maybe you know you want to write on a particular topic.  You can jump to research and then return to step 2 to decide on a perspective.  In our example, we will just move straight on to task two.

Use your task list as a blueprint to guide you through the process.

Once you have your topic, you will want to start thinking of different ideas that will support that position.  For this, we are going to have a brainstorming session.  Start brainstorming all the ideas that can help strengthen your stance.  Use the next 10 minutes assigned to complete the brainstorm and see where it takes you.  

Don’t misunderstand.  This is not the same as research.  Use your memory associations to elaborate on ideas during this brain dump session.  It might help you choose a topic or perspective.  Here you find how much you know about the subject, even if you have a lot to say.   Doing elaborations like this will also help in later steps when deciding what to research.

What to do when you encounter tasks that take longer than 15 minutes.

In our example, the next step will be to start researching those ideas before you begin to outline and write your paragraphs.  These tasks can also be broken down further.  For example, if you have two hours to do research, break that up into tasks.  Break up your list into four 30-minute tasks to research your topic for supporting arguments.  Then, add each of the three supporting arguments you will turn into paragraphs.

Your list will look like this:

Research (2 hours total)

Research sitting 1 (30 minutes) - find 3 facts to support my thesis

Research sitting 2 (30 minutes) - research fact 1

Research sitting 3 (30 minutes) - research fact 2

Research sitting 4 (30 minutes) - research fact 3

Spend the first 30 minutes researching your topic as a whole.  Spend this time looking into if the supporting arguments you came up with for your initial brainstorming session can stand.  You might find better ones.  Find 3 in these 30-minutes and then spend 30-minutes researching each of the supporting arguments. 

How to easily break up a huge term project or assignment

After you have spent this initial time, decide if it was enough.  Are you confident with the information you came up with?  Do you feel like you need more?  You should go back and continue to research only after you have spent this first research time as directed. 

Do not research blindly.  Often, students will spend a ton of time investigating facts they don’t need.  Unstructured research time can be a wasteland for productivity.   Do your first research sessions like this.  Then, only if you need more information, assign additional time to a specific task.

If you have a specific and directed plan, you won’t waste time falling into the hole of researching for days and weeks.  You can be straightforward and targeted in your searches and know what you are looking for.  You may choose to spend much more time on research or much less.   This will be subjective to the scope of your assignment so follow your gut. 

My advice would be to set a timer and reassess after every hour at maximum.   Change the topic you are searching for after each of these markers to ensure you are not spending all your time on one specific fact.  This will ensure that you are making progress on the whole essay and not spending all your time digging your heels in on one argument.

If you find something interesting that you want to look into further, allot a specific research block for that topic.  This way, you keep your research structured and are mindful of your task list.  Try your best not to fall into a rabbit hole chasing random facts.   Everything that you research should have a purpose in your project.

It’s okay to save the hardest tasks for last.

I usually suggest phrasing the thesis statement for last.  This is because it’s generally easier to fit the thesis statement after completing the paragraphs than forcing them to support it.   Looking back on what you have proven allows you to better word your opinion.

In our example of an essay, the thesis statement is the most crucial piece of the puzzle.  It is okay to struggle with trying to word it perfectly.  In cases like this, it’s best to take the pressure off and let the words come to you.   Work on other aspects of the assignment until the hard parts have a place to fit into.

In the case of an essay, you must follow the research where it leads you, and phrasing the thesis statement to fit the essay is often easier than the other way around.  We usually start with one idea of how we want to write our paper, but the research might tell us otherwise due to specific nuances. 

The thesis statement is the most important sentence of the essay.   This can cause a lot of nervousness surrounding phrasing it just right.  Leaving it until last can help alleviate the pressure of finding the perfect wording from the beginning.   Sometimes, as you write the essay, the thesis statement will come to you organically.  Leaving it till the end gives you the room to allow this to happen.

It’s usually easier to fit the thesis statement after you have entirely fleshed out your essay.   So, putting in all the heavy lifting of finding a perfect thesis statement before writing the first paragraph is a lot of effort wasted.   Waiting will reduce the risk of burnout and increase the chance of doing it right and well.


Start early and take your time.

Continue breaking down the initial list until you have tasks that are no longer than 15 minutes each.  If you have to list something multiple times, that’s okay.  We want to have a long list of items that are not intimidating.  Some of them might even be 5 or 10 minutes.  Just break them down.

If you start your assignment early with this simple method, you can select a task every day to cross off.   That way, you are not rushing yourself or encountering writer’s block because you are burnt out .

Now that you have this big, beautiful list, you will want to start checking tasks off.  Just sit down with your list, a pen and paper, or a laptop and start plugging away at each of these entries.

Make sure you break up your sittings over multiple days. 

Decide how much time you will have to work on this project daily, so you can plan which items you can cross off.  Note that once you have this list, you no longer have to work on things in order.   So, if you are not motivated to be a fantastic wordsmith with expert levels of eloquence one day, you can work on outlines or research.  Leave the writing and phrasing for another day when you are prepared to craft the perfect sentence for the perfect essay.

Saving an assignment for the last minute, while so tempting, is definitely not the best practice.  You will write better papers if you just break them up and work on them over days.  Even if you devote only 30 minutes a day to your assignment, you will see an increase in quality. 

Be honest with yourself.

I know we all want to lie to ourselves and say we work best under pressure, but it’s simply not true.   99% of the best work happens in revision.

The more you revise the work, the better it sounds, so just read it over and over and edit it.  You don’t even have to read it from beginning to end.  Pick a paragraph at random and edit that.  Continue until you have finished the essay or until your 30-minute sitting is over.

Try using Grammarly to help with your editing.   It is entirely free to use, but there is also a premium version with even more benefits.  I have been using it for years and can not understate its value.   I use it every day to check the spelling and grammar of everything from this article to research papers and assignments, even essays.  It gives me the confidence in my writing that I need to hit publish.

Spend more time editing your assignment than you did writing it.

assignment 3 time to break it down

As you work on that project and fill up those pages, you will read it back and make tiny tweaks.  A small change here or a minor adjustment there will really enhance and clarify and make it better. 

Don’t wait until the last minute when you have to throw a Hail Mary.  You are just writing it down at that point, like you are blurting it out.  You will only have time to review it once, save it, and hand it in.  You will only have 3 minutes until the deadline ticks and marks start coming off. 

You know, that 2.5 % that comes off daily?  Does that sound familiar?

Instead, rush your draft.  Throw your ideas onto the paper however they come to mind, and spend all your time editing it until it’s just right.

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Tips for Creating the Best Term Project or Assignment.

Term projects don’t have to be intimidating.  They are an excellent opportunity to show the professor how much you have learned in this class.  Adding your own spin to the project with a dash of personal creativity can really set your assignment apart.

assignment 3 time to break it down

I have always preferred term projects over final exams.  They are a much better way to demonstrate your understanding with less pressure.  While exams often show how much a student can memorize, assignments give much more room for nuance.

Try employing these simple tips to make your next term project stand out.

Start as soon as you can

Just start early.   Even if you just start by making to make your task list.  Make an effort to work on it for 10 or 15 minutes each day to cross off one item.   Plan it out so that you have set aside time to work on this assignment each day, and you will thank me for it on the due date.  

The wall is only insurmountable until you start to climb it.  This project is only overwhelming because you have not started.  Get started, break it down into pieces and watch how the anxiety begins to melt away.

Refer to your rubric often.

Read your rubric thoroughly.   This will tell you exactly what is expected from you and how you are graded.  Rubrics explain precisely what is required to get any mark you want.  All you have to do is follow it.

Make sure that you read through your rubric thoroughly at least 3 times:

In the planning phase of your project

When you complete your rough draft

Before you hand it in.

During each instance, compare your assignment to the rubric in each section.  If you feel your project is falling short of the top mark, tweak it or note how you need to change it.  Repeat this review process until you are happy with each of the requirements.

Make a plan and stick to it.

Finally, stick to this plan as much as possible.  It’s so tempting to trade in 30 minutes today for an hour tomorrow, but you will find all the same excuses not to work on it again tomorrow .  It’s going to be easy to procrastinate.  But motivation comes from seeing progress.  If you stick to the plan and don’t fall behind, you won’t get overwhelmed.  You won’t get unmotivated, and you will feel even better about what you have accomplished.  Most importantly, You will not dread working on it and catching up.

Write down the plan, and stick to it.  You will see that you will stop getting so much anxiety and frustration about working on it.  Stress and overwhelm over every assignment you get will subside because you are working on them and chipping away at that to-do list every day.  Seeing progress is really going to get you motivated to finish.

This goes double for assignments that you don’t think you understand. 

Even if you don’t understand the assignment, create your list and start working on it.  When you get to the confusing part, you will often find that it’s not as bad as you thought.  If you need clarification, you will know precisely what you are struggling with, so you can get help on that specific part.  You will be less likely to throw your hands in the air and claim it is too hard.

If you have a project you are struggling with, feel free to book an appointment or email me .  Let’s see if we can break up this big assignment together!

assignment 3 time to break it down

Big assignments can be scary, but these fears are often tied to our own worries about being good enough.  Anxiety and doubt in your abilities can often manifest as overwhelm and confusion.

It’s easy to get stuck on the big picture.  Just remember, every forest is made up of thousands of trees.  Each one sprouted individually, one at a time.  Focus on the first step and work your way through.  As you progress, the finish line will become clearer, and the stress of taking each step will become less and less.

Essays are hard to tackle because they can be so overwhelming.  Pick up my FREE Printable Essay Checklist to guide you through the entire process of essay writing.

Free printable Essay checklist pdf.  How to write an essay step by step.

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How to Break Down a Large Project into Manageable Task

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If you’re working on a huge project, the magnitude of various tasks that you are supposed to complete on time can make you feel overwhelmed. This feeling hinders you from making progress because it damages your morale and makes your project seem impossible to complete. When you start thinking that a project is impossible to complete, you’ll start procrastinating…

Have you thought about breaking down large assignments into manageable tasks though?

Similar to consuming a large meal through small bites at a time, you can work on any task regardless of how complex or long they are as long as you break them down. Once you’ve done this, you can easily address these pieces. Instead of focusing on the entire project, focus on what you can do right now to make progress.

Learning the art of breaking down a project will improve your productivity and performance in the workplace. [1]

How to Break Down Large Assignments

Before you start thinking of breaking down tasks into smaller components, you need to know the definition of a task. While this might seem like an obvious thing, you cannot create a solid plan if you don’t know what a task is.

Since you’ll need to outline your tasks, the difficulty lies in how well you split them. How you cut a project into several tasks is determined by how long you want them to take.

For instance, you could define “Write an email” as a task. However, you can narrow it down further into several steps such as “Write an email to George about project deadlines”.

“Write an email” isn’t enough to be a task. On the other hand, something like “Complete a presentation” is a big task that has to be broken down.

The Rewind And Reduce Method

If you’ve ever tried breaking down tasks to boost your productivity and performance, you’ve probably realized that there are a lot of methods that will help you learn how to break down tasks. While most of these methods are effective, not all of them are ideal for you.

The Rewind And Reduce Method is perfect for people who want to increase their productivity and achieve their biggest goals. This method not only systematically breaks down a project, but also set achievable deadlines that you can confidently achieve consistently.

Once you get used to this system, you’ll never find yourself thinking of other ways to break down tasks and increase your productivity.

Here is a clear example that demonstrates the benefits of the rewind and reduce method:

Before one of our managers tried the Rewind and Reduce Method, he used to take 8 hours to complete a work presentation.

Just one week after trying this strategy…

To understand how to use the Rewind and Reduce method, we need to discuss the respective steps that you need to take:

Step 1. Rewind

The first step in our technique is to Rewind. This involves starting from the end by taking your final goal and working backward. This exercise will help you identify the main milestones and complete your project on time.

Every project has a goal. It could be generating more sales, improving business operations, reducing overhead expenses, or increasing customer satisfaction to name a few. Knowing the goal of your project will help keep you and your team aligned and increase productivity.

In one scientific study, 162 participants were asked to perform a hand-eye coordination test. The researchers found that there was a link between goal specificity and performance level. They found that individuals who set specific goals tend to have higher levels of productivity. [2]

The project goal should define the results to give you a sense of direction. Setting clear goals and working backward will help you save a lot of time and energy in the long run.

For example, say I am planning to create a presentation on the overall organization strategy.

Well, working backward, some milestones that I identify are:

Step 2. Reduce

The first step helped you identify the main milestones that you should focus on to complete your project successfully. The second step is Reduce. You need to break down every milestone into bite-sized actions. Bite-sized means they are focused on one specific objective and are something you expect to finish within an hour.

Next, estimate the amount of time you’ll spend on every task. the more bite-sized the task, the easier and more accurate it is to estimate.

Step 3. Summarize

Finally, the third step is to add up all your estimates for each milestone to arrive at a relatively accurate timeline. Going back to the current example, say my deadline is the end of Friday, and I can only devote 1 hr a day to work on it.

Total Estimated Time – 3.5 hours

This means that I’ll have to start working on the project on Tuesday (latest) to complete it by Friday without stress. Pretty easy, right?

Big projects can take weeks, months, or even years. There’s nothing more frustrating than investing a lot of time and energy into a project only to realize later that you are off track. This is why you need to use the Rewind and Reduce method to break down a huge project into smaller parts.

When it comes to feeling overwhelmed by large projects, the concept of breaking them down into manageable tasks works for everyone. If you tend to procrastinate, learning how to break down a project into tasks is very useful.

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Chunking: Breaking Tasks into Manageable Parts

Chunking (Chunk is used as a verb here) is breaking skills or information into smaller, more manageable segments in order to help students in special education succeed. The term can often be found in Specially Designed Instruction (SDIs)  as a way to adapt the curriculum in a Child's ​ IEP.

Chunking Academic Tasks

A pair of scissors is a great chunking tool.  Students who quit when given a worksheet with twenty problems may do just fine with 10 or 12.   Knowing your students is critical to making decisions how much each student can do at each step of chunking will help you make decisions about how many problems, steps or words a child will handle at each stage.  In other words, you will learn how to "chunk" the scaffolding of skills as students acquire them. 

Thanks to the "Cut" and "Paste" commands on your computer, it is also possible to scan and modify assignments, providing broader practice on fewer items.  It is also possible to making "chunking" assignments part of a students "accommodations." 

Chunking Projects in Secondary Content Classes

Secondary (middle and high school) students are often given multiple step projects to build research skills and to fully engage them in the academic discipline.  A geography class may require a student to collaborate on a mapping project, or building a virtual community.  Projects like these these offer students with disabilities opportunities to partner with typical peers and learn from the models they may provide. 

Students with disabilities often give up when they feel that a task is too big to manage.  They often are daunted before they even take up the task.  By chunking, or breaking a task into manageable parts, it helps scaffold students into longer and more complex tasks.  At the same time, careful chunking can help students learn to strategize their approach to academic tasks.  This helps build executive function, the ability to intellectually structure and plan a series of behaviors, like writing a paper, or completing a complex assignment.  Using a rubric can be a helpful way to "chunk' an assignment.  When supporting a student in a general education setting, it is invaluable to work with your general education partner (teacher) to create structured rubrics that will support your students.  Once that is in hand, lay out a schedule that helps your student meet multiple deadlines. 

Chunking and 504 Plans

Students who may not actually qualify for an IEP may qualify for a 504 plan, which will provide ways to support students with behavioral or other challenges.  "Chunking" assignments is often part of the accommodations provided for the student. 

Also Known As: Chunk or Segment

assignment 3 time to break it down

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Breaking Down Your Tasks Into Manageable Pieces

assignment 3 time to break it down

When you’re working on a substantial project, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task (or tasks) you’re responsible for completing. This feeling can prevent you from making progress, not only through damaging your morale but also through making your workload seem impenetrable (and thus impossible ).

But just as you’d eat a large meal through small bites, you can get through any task — no matter how long and complicated — if you can break it down into manageable pieces. Once you’ve done so, you need only address those pieces one by one. In this guide, we take you through how to do this. Ready? Then let’s get started.

What is a task?

Before we run through a 5-step process for breaking down tasks into manageable pieces, it’s important to define exactly what a task is. This might seem like an obvious question to ask, but a typical answer — something like “A thing you need to do” — won’t be helpful when you’re trying to create a plan. Outlining your tasks is the first thing you need to do, and the difficulty lies in how finely you split your work. 

You could define “Tie shoelaces” as a task, for instance, but you could just as easily narrow it down further into steps such as “Kneel down” and “Pull the shoelaces taut”. So how narrow should you go? Well, you should cut each project into tasks based on how long you expect them to take. One common framing of a task is something that takes between two days and two weeks, while another is something that takes fewer than 80 hours. Choose for yourself.

That “Tie shoelaces” action isn’t long enough to be a distinct task, obviously — whereas something like “Renovate the house” is far too long and must be broken down. Here’s a tip: if you can’t be very confident about how long something might take, imagine the worst-case scenario and the best-case scenario and go with the middle point.

Help break down projects and manage tasks with our task management software .

Request your short Workiro demo today .

Step 1: Break your project down into tasks

So, let’s say you’re ready to start breaking down your new project into its component tasks. Start by identifying all your tasks: write down everything important that springs to mind, focusing on the required result, and working backward to figure out everything that’s necessary to get you through a successful project strategy.

Take this list and pass it to someone you’re working with on the project and/or someone who’s familiar with the overall goal. They might be able to point out some steps you’ve missed, or note that you’ve accidentally doubled-up on particular steps. They can also screen the list for big actions that need to be broken down further.

Once this is done and you’ve analysed the full list of tasks, you need to work out the task dependencies . It can help to sort them into the overall stages of your project, such as planning, preparation, and implementation. With a rough order set out, you can group tasks into smaller milestones (for example, you might have a sublist of tasks for each week).

Step 2: Perform a task analysis

Task analysis is the process of assessing exactly how a task can be completed (and ultimately determining how it should be completed). Each task is analysed to understand exactly how complicated it is, what resources it will need, what actions will go into achieving it, and how long it should take.

Once you’ve completed this process for all your identified tasks, you can define certain key elements for each one: where it fits into the order of priority, which person should be dealing with it (you, someone on your team, a freelancer, etc.), and how much time the chosen person will need to complete it to the required level of quality.

Step 3: Prioritise your tasks

Let’s delve deeper into the ordering process. You can't just break down a project into a long list of tasks and start working on them in the order you thought of them (or pick out the easiest ones first). You need to prioritise your task list so that you know which tasks need to be done in which order for your project to keep moving forward. 

Decide how you're going to prioritise them. It could be as simple as labeling tasks as Urgent, High Priority, Medium Priority, or Low Priority. Alternatively, you could use a method that prioritises them by importance and urgency, such as the Eisenhower decision matrix .

Once you've broken down your project and organised your tasks, you might find that some of them will take longer (or require more work to be completed) than is ideal. These complex tasks need to be broken down further, either into separate tasks or into subtasks that can be completed individually. It’s essential that each task be actionable.

If a given task will take several weeks to complete, it’s surely possible to break it down into different stages. To manage this, write out each action it will require, and estimate how long each of these actions will take. You’ll then be able to decide which of those actions should be distinct tasks and which should be subtasks.

Step 4: Set deadlines and assign task owners

After you've decided on task priority, you can set your time estimates, and define deadlines. This is especially important if one task is dependent on another one being completed first. You need to set realistic deadlines that will ensure all the work is completed by the overall deadline for the project  - so it's important to clearly outline how long you expect each task to take.

To get a clear overview of a project's progress it's going to be helpful to group tasks into milestones that signify an identifiable part of the project is complete. Milestones should be aligned with your project goals to ensure that you make steady progress towards achievement. They’re vital for breaking up a big list of tasks into manageable chunks of work, making it easier for workers to make progress (and for project managers to monitor and assess that progress).

When you have an idea of timing, you can start assigning the tasks to relevant team members. Each of your assigned tasks must have enough detail for anyone who looks at it to understand those key points of when it’s due, where it stands in the list of priorities, who’s responsible for it, and what actions will be needed to get it done. 

It’s a good idea to use a task management tool to store and organise all the tasks being worked on. You can use it to break projects down into tasks with start dates and deadlines that can be assigned to individual team members. The team will then have access to view the list of tasks assigned to them for different projects, and it's clear which ones they need to work on first.

Step 5: Keep track of tasks

With tasks assigned to different team members, you need a system in place to ensure that each task is completed on time. Keeping track of tasks manually is unproductive and time-consuming, and often leads to important project components being undervalued or overlooked entirely. 

Using a task management tool like Workiro , you'll be able to track all the tasks for each task and any team members involved will be automatically reminded about the tasks assigned to them until they complete them.  

It's also really important to track the time spent on each task to make sure it doesn't take too long and it fits in with the project plan. Additionally, all time-tracking you carry out will leave you with vital information for scheduling future projects with comparable tasks.

For more information on task management read our blog on the best task management apps .

How do you manage day-to-day tasks?

The 5-step plan outlined above is great for long-term task planning, but if you have a lengthy to-do list for your daily tasks, you can make your life easier by taking all the most pressing tasks and putting them into a separate list or view. After all, building up a huge list of tasks you aren’t actively working on will put more pressure on you and most likely leave you feeling that you’re not making good progress.

At the beginning of each day, make a note of any imminent deadlines and focus on those. Once you’ve picked out the tasks you need to get done quickly, it’s advisable to tackle the hardest ones first instead of putting them off. If this sounds too daunting, you could queue up tasks of alternating difficulty to help you stay productive throughout the day.

It’s also vital that you be flexible in your day-to-day scheduling, though. Keep an eye on the overview of every project you’re working on — you never know when a given task might be moved up or down the list of priorities (or taken off the project altogether). And if a priority task is dependent upon someone else doing something, acknowledge that you can do little more than push them to complete it promptly — while you’re waiting, there’s no sense in wasting time thinking about it when you could be doing something else.

Wrapping up, breaking tasks down into manageable pieces takes a bit of planning and effort, but it’s an important process that will help maintain productivity, enable thorough tracking of project progress, and ensure that work is completed on time. Use these tips to improve your task management and yield better results.

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Energy Transition

assignment 3 time to break it down

‘Three big barriers stop nations quickly adopting wind power – it's time to break them down’

OPINION | Accelerated deployment of onshore wind is a win-win that fights climate change and brings huge benefits to developing economies, but some common hurdles need tackling urgently, write Joyce Lee and Mike Blanch

One of the most effective ways to fight global warming is to increase the deployment of onshore wind energy in emerging markets.

The promises about scaling renewables from almost 200 signatory nations at recent COP climate summits in France, Scotland and Egypt need to be realised urgently and that means addressing the challenges to growing wind projects.

The construction and operation of such low-cost capacity also presents vast and largely unexploited socioeconomic and environmental opportunities.

Recent analysis for a report completed by GWEC and BVG Associates considered five developing economies with reasonable wind resource: Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, and Morocco.

assignment 3 time to break it down

Across these five countries, accelerating the installation of wind will enable an additional 3.5GW of capacity in the five years from 2023 to 2027 that would generate an economic boost of $12.5bn and create 130,000 full-time-equivalent work years compared to business as usual. As importantly, that enables a virtuous circle with much greater capacity and benefit in the years following.

This accelerated deployment also brings many other benefits. In the five years, 243 million tonnes of carbon emissions are avoided and 25 million litres of water saved from use in thermal power plants. By 2027 an extra 7.7 million homes will be powered by renewable energy.

The findings of this report are consistent with previous work carried out in early 2022 that highlighted similar benefits of accelerated deployment for Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa and The Philippines. The barriers found in our latest work are similar too.

assignment 3 time to break it down

Supply chain disruptions caused by Covid-19 and recent commodity price increases have constrained actions to speed up wind deployment. But there are more than just macroeconomic factors stifling capacity additions. Our analysis highlights three common barriers that prevent accelerated deployment of onshore wind in these markets that nations are in a position to overcome.

The first is a poor clarity and ambition when it comes to wind energy. This manifests in a lack of enabling policy frameworks and regulation to wind energy investment, unnecessarily tying governments to fossil-based generation.

assignment 3 time to break it down

The second is inefficient schemes for permitting, leasing and procuring wind energy. Often there are unnecessarily complex procedures, with long timelines and beset with poor coordination between a myriad of agencies and jurisdictions involved in the development of wind projects. This results in unnecessary project delays and high rates of attrition.

The third is poor and inefficient grid infrastructure provision. Onshore wind projects can’t always be built in areas where the grid is well developed so need new transmission capacity added. Grid planning is complex, slow and expensive. It is often co-ordinated by organisations separate to those involved in the development and planning of wind projects.

Grid planning is complex, slow and expensive.

This fragmentation leads to the transmission system not being efficiently developed in the best wind areas. Lack of grid availability at the right time delays deployment, raises investment risk and threatens targets.

Greater public and private investment in secure, smart and flexible grids enables ever-larger shares of renewable energy. Accelerated deployment of wind projects is possible if governments, the wind industry, and relevant stakeholders can recognise and address these barriers to deployment.

Accelerated development will support climate action. It will enable countries to create more sustainable jobs, boost economic development, and increase energy and water security well into the future.

Joyce Lee is head of policy and projects at the Global Wind Energy Council. Mike Blanch is associate director at BVG Associates.

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2023 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions: March Madness expert picks, winners, upsets, favorites to win

Our experts have filled out their brackets, so check who they predict will be cutting down the nets before you fill out yours.


The college basketball season began with more than 350 teams eligible to compete in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. On Sunday, the field of contenders shrunk to 68 as the Division I Men's Basketball Committee revealed the 2023 March Madness bracket for the first time.

Now all that's left is to make your picks!

Our CBS Sports experts have spent months preparing for this exact moment. We've broken down the tape, watched the top players and compiled all the intel necessary to help guide you through building your bracket. From the No. 1 teams to the No. 16 seeds, we have you covered across all 68 teams, all 65 games and all three weeks of the tournament.

Brackets are here! Get back in your pools and join our Men's and Women's Challenges for the chance to win a new SUV and a college basketball dream trip!

The CBS Sports college basketball team has filled out its expert brackets, so think of this as a cheat sheet to aid you in winning your pool. (Copy all you want; we won't judge.) We're here to serve you, and our knowledge is your knowledge. Just know, if we're right and make the correct picks, we are absolutely responsible and want credit (tweet us!). And if not, well, we take zero blame. Thems the rules. 

Get every pick, every play, every upset and fill out your bracket with our help! Visit SportsLine now to see which teams will make and break your bracket and who will cut down the nets, all from the model that beat over 92% of all CBS Sports brackets in two of the last four tournaments.

OK, enough with the fun stuff. On to the brackets ...  

2023 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions

Gary parrish.

Click to enlarge Gary's bracket

A terrific coach, great guards, experienced players and NBA talent are usually what it takes to win a national title. Houston checks every box considering Kelvin Sampson is a terrific coach, Jamal Shead and Marcus Sasser are great guards, four of Houston's top five scorers are non-freshmen, and Sasser and Jarace Walker should both be first-round NBA Draft picks. Am I concerned about Sasser's groin injury? Sure, a little. But assuming he's OK, I think Houston is better equipped than anybody else to win six games in this bracket and cut nets on the first Monday night in April.

Matt Norlander

Click to enlarge Matt's bracket

Click to enlarge Kyle's bracket

The health of star guard and leading scorer Marcus Sasser may cause doubt to creep into your mind about the Cougars' chances, but should he return at full strength, Houston should be regarded as the frontrunner until further notice. This Kelvin Sampson-led club is the toughest, most well-rounded team in the sport and the most grueling matchup for opposing teams to boot. They routinely rake on the offensive glass, thrive on second-chance opportunities and grind teams down with their methodical pace. With 31 wins to just three losses entering March Madness , this Houston team rates No. 1 across multiple analytics sites and has the requisite offensive/defensive balance you want from a contender as the only team in the sport with a top-11 offense and defense in adjusted efficiency ratings.

Dennis Dodd

Click to enlarge Dennis' bracket

Chip Patterson


Click to enlarge Chip's bracket

I started filling out my bracket knowing how unlikely it is for schools to win a national championship and then run it back. I also know how unlikely it is for a program to win a national championship, lose most of the primary rotation players and then come back and compete for a national championship. But that's exactly what Kansas has done, notching a record 17 Quad 1 wins, another Big 12 regular season crown and earning the third No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. I think the bracket breaks favorably, as UCLA is dealing with injury issues and Kansas can match styles with the likes of UConn or Gonzaga depending on what's needed. From there it's a fourth meeting with Texas, in Houston, which should be epic and then facing the winner of my chaos side which has Arizona out of the South and Duke out of the East. The Blue Devils have not been playing like a No. 5 seed over the last nine games, as they've gotten healthier and the blue chip freshmen have gotten even more comfortable in their roles. It's a bad draw for Purdue, made even worse by the Madison Square Garden setting -- a building Duke plays in every year -- for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.

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