History test, English quiz, group project, a movie date with friends and it’s not even Wednesday yet? Sounds like the life of a typical college student. Between going to class, doing homework, studying for exams and a social life, there’s a lot to balance! Most students learn within the first week of college that managing their time is one of the most challenging aspects of being a college student. Since you are probably already pressed for time while you are reading this, we’ll keep it short and sweet.
With these simple tips, learn to manage your time wisely so it doesn’t end up managing you. Efficient time management can lead to less stress and more time doing the things
• Be organized. Get (and use) a calendar. A paper calendar, the calendar app on your iPhone, a stone tablet and parchment paper- whatever works for you. Write down everything that you need to accomplish. Read your class syllabus as soon as you get it and write down all due dates. Even when you think you’ll remember an assignment, you may forget to meet with your study group or to take that on-line quiz.
• Prioritize your tasks. Rank your to-do tasks in order of priority. If your research paper isn’t due for another week but you have a killer biology test in two days, study for the test first.
• Focus on the task at hand. Schedule uninterrupted study time and turn your phone on airplane mode or do not disturb so you are not distracted by social media and friends. You are actually less productive when you are trying to write your to-do list, fill out a test review and catch up on your Instagram feed simultaneously. You’ll be more efficient if you close all the extra tabs and apps and focus on one thing at a time. Try it, we promise it works.
• Avoid overload. While it’s important to study for midterms, complete group projects and write that ten-page history paper, it’s also important to schedule time for yourself. Include sleep, relaxation, eating, exercise and socialization for yourself as well. Take short breaks during your study hours, but don’t let a ten minute break turn into an hour-long break of watching your favorite show on Netflix.
• Learn how to say no. When you need to study for an exam or finish a presentation, it is okay to say no to dinner or bowling with friends. Trust me; there will be plenty of other times to hang out with your friends!
• DON’T PROCRASTINATE. You will add so much unwanted stress on yourself if you put everything off until the last minute. Don’t try to write a ten page research paper the night before it is due. Don’t try to pull an all-nighter to ace a final. I could say this 100 times and every student will still do it. So, if you learn how to avoid procrastination please share the secret with every college student in America.
If this seems like too much to adjust to, just try incorporating one change at a time and before you know it you’ll be a pro at managing your time!