The life of a college student can become hectic in a hurry. Balancing classes, studying, working a part-time job, and juggling extracurricular activities makes for a stressful situation for anyone. Not to mention having a social life and leaving spare time for friends and family.
Putting in place proper time management skills will allow you to live a balanced college life and will minimize the stress that comes along with it.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a balanced college life:
- Stay Organized
Staying organized means keeping a calendar with all that needs to be done during the week: class times, appointments, social events, and anything else you need to do on campus. In other words, it would be a very wise decision to write this down in a weekly planner or set up some type of weekly schedule. This will make you more productive in the end as you'll be able to perform tasks much more efficiently
- Set your Priorities Clear
Once you know what you are doing with your time, make sure to tackle the most pressing issues first. Stay focused on the task at hand and knock it out of the way. A good way to prioritize tasks is to number them in order of importance when you write them down. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. This doesn’t mean skimp out on the low priority tasks though!
- Avoid Procrastinating
This is a real killer to a lot of college students. If you receive an assignment on the first day of class to complete a 20-page paper by the end of the term, do not wait until the night before it's due to complete it. Try to keep up with assigned readings and other class assignments. Don’t wait until the last minute to get things done. Often times this will result in poor completion of the work or worse yet, no completion at all. Don’t put things off and get them done in a timely fashion. Everyone has a time that they feel more energetic and willing to work. Try figuring out what time of the day you are most productive and use this time to complete your most important tasks.
- Set Goals
This is the most important tip of all. Know exactly what you want to accomplish every week and follow your plan to do so. Do not let anything stop you from achieving your goal unless it is something drastic and out of your control. Try to meet all of your goals every week and reward yourself for doing so during the weekends. If you have a hard time doing this, try setting small goals for yourself and build up from there as your confidence rises.
Time Management Tips for Students
Use Every Minute Available
If you commute by bus or train to school, then use that time to catch up on class notes or check up on email. If you are eating alone in the cafeteria, why not read a book or throw in some last-minute studying before your test. Your time is precious so try to take advantage of every minute available to you so that no time is wasted.
Organize Your Activities
In order to keep track of all of your activities, use an electronic device such as an iPhone to stay on top of your schedule. This will allow you to record all of your events, jot down quick notes, and check email when needed. You can set up reminders and other alarms to alert you when you have a paper due or you can even input your work schedule in the calendar. A day planner will do fine as well. However, these items only work well if you actually use them, so be sure to record your scheduled activities as you receive notice.
Have a Social Life
Yes, you are in college to learn, but make sure you let loose and have a social life. Go out to the movies with your friends or attend that party on campus. You can always hang out in your room and call to check in on your parents and friends.
Don’t Over Do It
Try your best not to take on more than you can handle. Do not take a 40-hour per week job plus a full load of classes. Make sure you only take hours at your job that you can fit between studying and other university-related activities. Trying to do too much can cause stress as well as have a negative impact on your health.
The trick to effective time management is organization. Make sure you write your goals, assignments, work schedule, and social events down in a planner or input them in your phone. Do not let the freedom of the college atmosphere overpower you. It is true that you are not under the rules and structure of home, however you still need to be effective in managing your time for ultimate success in college and beyond.