Not many people will tell you this, but rest assured that you have a better chance of getting your work done on time if you start is as soon as you receive the instructions. Do this and most of your worries will be a thing of the past.
Take your time and visit the school library. There is a lot of useful information that you can get in here, which will help you out so much.
To save on more time, you should try and get as much help as you can from your classmates. There are so many times when discussing your work with them will be the best decision you have ever made.