The life of a college student is often filled with millions of time commitments from classes, clubs, jobs, group projects, social engagements, and even family duties. We are the generation of multi-taskers, gladly taking on more obligations than we really should. How does a student stay on top of it all (while not dying from exhaustion, hunger, or lack of sleep)?
The answer is simply: good time management skills. Here are some tips on how you can be an overachiever and look relaxed while doing it.
1. Make lists and/or post it notes.
Sometimes writing down what you need to do for the day will keep it fresh in your memory. Keep a planner, type out reminders on your iPhone, or make quick post it notes and stick them in places you often look (like on the fridge or your bathroom door). Writing notes keeps your brain active and boosts your memory of what you need to do. By doing this, you’ll be able to keep track of your priorities, which is the first step to time management.
2. Schedule time for yourself.
Juggling priorities gets really stressful when you don’t get breaks to cool down and recharge. Find something you love to do and schedule about an hour a day to do what you love. Pick up a good book; listen to some new music, exercise. The trick is not to spend TOO much time doing this though, because otherwise you’ll fall behind on other priorities. Find a balance, and don’t let yourself get too distracted. You’ll appreciate and enjoy your free time more if you don’t overindulge.
3. Take on only what you can handle.
Everyone has their breaking point, and we’ve all hit it before. Prioritize what’s important in your life and what will have better long term results rather than short term ones. Projects that won’t really help with your education or career are ones you need to consider axing, especially if they aren’t fun or give you unnecessary stress.
4. Stay positive.
Bad days will definitely come your way, but remember that you have a new day ahead of you, with new possibilities for growth. Don’t let bad experiences poison the rest of your day, it’s best to just leave your troubles behind you. We all make mistakes so don’t let yourself feel miserable when you make them. If you can’t achieve everything you wanted to in your day, don’t take it as a failure. Instead, take it as an opportunity to see what you can improve on. Time management, like a lot of things, requires a lot of trial and error.
5. Ask for help when you need it.
Friends, classmates, teachers, faculty, family and mentors are all around you. Why not ask them for help once in a while? Don’t forget to offer help to others. Working together on things gets everyone’s tasks done much faster. Form study groups, go to the writing center, visit professor’s office hours. While it may seem like it’s taking on more time out of your day, you’re really helping yourself in the long run. When you’re writing that essay over the weekend it will be a lot easier if you’ve talked with your teacher outside of class about your idea. The easier something is, the quicker it gets done. Being proactive and accepting advice can only help you.
Hopefully you enjoyed these tips and will put them to use in your life. With finals coming up in a little over a month, time management will be critical in keeping your head on straight.
By Joe Gooding