Everyone always tells you to manage your time wisely, but do you ever really listen? Most of us would rather spend our time with friends than doing homework. If you’re a student, however, somewhere in the back of your mind you must know how important your studies are too. The reality is that you can — and need! — to do both. Making time for school, work, internships, extracurricular activities, and a social life all at the same time can be hectic and at times may seem impossible, but, believe me, it can be done. I am living, still breathing, proof. Based on my personal experience, I’ve put together some tips that I hope will help you.
You can always use an old school paper calendar, the planner your college gives you at orientation, or make your own. You can also use your phone! Check out the cool free calendar app Cal. If you’d rather keep your information on your computer, check out Windows Sticky Notes, Google calendar, or iCloud. Don’t want to spend all of your time on your phone or computer? Use good ol’ sticky notes! (I love these fun Days of The Week Sticky Notes.) Any of these options can help keep your important dates organized and easily accessible.
2. Sleep sometimes!
Some might say that being a “real” college student requires constant all-nighters, but without sleep you will be a walking zombie and are sure to forget something. You will need way too much coffee and energy drinks, and while they may “give you wings,” believe me, they won’t give you brains. And who has enough money in college to buy a bunch of energy drinks and coffee anyway? Sometimes you will have to stay up late writing papers or studying for big exams, but try to get at least four to six hours of sleep each night so you are refreshed the next day and your head is clear enough to take that exam or concentrate during class.
3. Leave open spaces in your calendar.
No matter what your schedule entails, be sure to fit in time to relax and to hang out with friends. This down time will also allow you to recuperate and relieve stress. Always, I repeat, always expect the unexpected. Make sure to also leave open space in your schedule for those unexpected things, such as a last-minute trip home or a project that takes longer than expected. Take things as they come, but leaving open spaces in your calendar or planner will make these curve balls a little easier to cope with.
If you exercise, you’ll release endorphins and feel better about yourself. If you feel better, you’ll have more energy to keep up with your hectic schedule. Exercising also helps clear your head, which allows you to concentrate for longer stretches of time and tackle all those things on your to-do list. Eating right will also help your body and mind feel better, but if you want to splurge, do so only once in a while. Plan a weekly pizza or hot wing night with friends and make that your “cheat” day. Feeling sluggish won’t help you get things done any faster. It’s not about being perfect, it’s just about making sure your body is properly nourished so your mind can flourish.
5. Always look ahead!
Once you’re done with your homework for the current week, look ahead to see what is due next week and get a head start on it. Check out your class syllabus to see what’s coming up and work ahead when possible. If you utilize this resource, it may become your best friend. Also, this tip will allow you to plan for fun getaways. If you know what’s due and what your schedule will be for the entire month, you can plan trips or other activities in advance based on your availability. Looking ahead can do nothing but good for you and your sanity as a college student.
Share your time management tips the comments below!image credits: stagetecture.com and empowher.com