Planning Backwards is exactly what it sound like. This technique was first introduced as an efficiency tool and military strategy as a means to pursue desired goals. Think backwards to plan forward is the gist. Stephen Covey lists Planning Backwards as "Habit #2" in his famous book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
"To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you're going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction."
Basically, starting with your end goal or date and working your way to present day time is the plan of action and necessary steps toward the stated goal. This effective technique for students to use is also called reverse planning or "forward in reverse".
As a stress reduction strategy, student clients and I will try this technique for long term projects. When the student knows exactly what to work on each day as a part of their plan, procrastination is minimized, forward thinking is activated, and the project is completed on time.
Planning Backwards is just one strategy both college and high school students can use to help lessen the stress caused by academics.