College can be stressful. Someone asks you when you are free to meet and you just sit there staring intensely wondering “Yea when AM I free?” It can be overwhelming and when you don’t have a system in place to combat the crazy it can be unmanageable. From one insanely busy college student to another I’m here to give you insight into 7 of the best ways I have found to practice time management in college.
1. Have a Planner
Whether this is on your phone, computer, or a written physical planner the only way you are going to be able to have time management is to know what your time looks like. I color code all of my items by subject to keep everything uniform. I also use both an electronic calendar as well as a physical planner to help me manage the aspects of my day. I write everything down that my teacher’s ask me to do and other things I have to do myself in my physical planner and later transfer that onto an electronic calendar. I use Google calendar and it is a lifesaver.
Not only do I input all of my assignments onto it I also input all of my classes, meetings, and extracurricular. Whether that me going to the gym, movie nights with friends, or vocal practice times you can be sure it is in my Google calendar. The thing I find most helpful about Google calendar is that I can set it to notify me before the event to keep me on track. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve almost forgotten a meeting or class because I got sidetracked or didn’t know what day it was, but then Google calendar was out here having my back making sure I remembered. (This is not a sponsored post I just really love Google calendar)
2. Don’t Overbook Yourself
This is when a planner comes in handy. No more scheduling multiple things at once, but another thing you have to watch out for is putting too much on your plate to where you can’t handle it. Whether this means not joining that club, or skipping going out with friends because you really should finish that paper before tomorrow, overbooking yourself will add an unreasonable amount of stress to your life. The hardest part is, we want to do so much in college that we hate the thought of missing out. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Don’t Hesitate to say No
It seems as college students there is this constant need to do anything and everything at this point in our lives. Like taking the extra class because for the credits. The extra work hours to make some extra money. We spread ourselves so thin because the hours in the day seem to keep getting shorter and we get FOMO (fear of missing out).
This becomes a problem when all of this is stacked on top of each other, but there is a way to fight it. Learn to say no. I know it can be hard. But if you really need to take a night in and do homework or go to sleep early do it. Even if your friends ask you to go out. Do what is best for you in that moment and if it is to say ‘No’ you may feel sad about it in the moment but in the long run you will be thanking your past self.
4. Get Things Done Ahead of Time
Procrastination is your worst enemy and it’s so easy too. When looking at homework vs watching Netflix, Netflix seems to win every time. To keep your time management goals start your homework, projects, and studying ahead of the time you assume you will. If you start working on things when you first get them you can spread out the amount of work you have to do in one sitting over a span of a few days. Which is my favorite way to work.
When I get a large load of work for different classes that are all due at different times I spread out the work and start small sections of big projects and then quickly finish the shorter assignments. By spreading out the work among multiple days when the deadline starts to come up I am not as stressed because I know I have been working on the assignment already.
5. Create Daily Task Lists
A big tip of mine that helps me to organize my time with my busy schedule is creating daily task lists. Even just mental lists help me to focus my energy on the more important things that need to happen for the day instead of worrying about everything that I need to get done.
Depending on what time I wake up for the day I will either lay in bed and plan or I do it while I walk to class. When I have more things that need to get done I like to write everything out on a notepad or on my phone. Itemizing your list by time is a big help. That way the things that need to be done earlier are the first things put onto the list. It also just helps to see your tasks laid out in front of you. Sometimes it may seem that everything that needs to get done is too much to handle but when you actually you write them down you realize there isn’t as much as you thought.
6. Set Reminders
I am a big fan of setting reminders for myself. If a teacher reminds me of a deadline in class or I remember I need to stop by the mail room later in the day I will quickly put set a reminder in my phone to notify me of it. When the reminder pops up on my phone later I am more likely to do it than if I just tell myself to remember it. I can’t tell you how many times I tell myself “I don’t need to write it down because I’ll remember.”
Last but not least, PRIORITIZE. There are just some things that I spend all day stressing out about until I realize that it isn’t even due for another few days. Then I have wasted my time on something pretty small instead of focusing on something that would have actually been worth my time. Don’t know just prioritize work, but prioritize things like eating, sleeping, or mental breaks. If you haven’t eaten all day, or keep staying up late because you weren’t doing your work earlier in the day nothing you do will be worth doing anyway.
Time management can seem like such an easy concept. Like “no duh” if I spend my time wisely I can do it all. But reality is unless you are implementing the right tools for yourself managing you time in college can be stressful. I hope these tips help you get better at practicing time management in your daily life.
Let me know in the comments your favorite tip to help with time management.
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