One of the most difficult steps in life is moving forward to be on your own. College is one of those first leaps that pushes you to juggle a lot at once. You hear it from everyone, time management is the most important concept that needs to be understood in order to be successful.
So how do you do it?
I have held two jobs, simultaneously, throughout my college career and have worked about 25-30 hours a week while being a full time student and maintaining a social life. Time management is different for everyone. However, there are several broad notions that help generalize the concept of time management.
1. Planners, Stickies, Notes in your Phone
Obviously, the number one way of time management is organizing your time into a visual setting. However, not everyone decides or likes the idea of using a planner. Planners are a great way to start but even your eyes spend more time on your phone or computer then in a planner. Utilizing tools on your laptop such as “Stickies” and the “Notes” section on your phone can really be beneficial as reminders. Now, you don’t have to choose just one of these ways of planning out your time. In fact, I USE ALL THREE! Throughout the day, I will use my phone, laptop and planner and will be reminded three times of the things I need to complete and when deadlines for rent, assignments and exams are. Putting down your grocery list in the notes on your phone, making a list of everything due in class for the week on your laptop and having a generalized overview of the month in your planner really keeps your mind focused on what needs to be done. Use highlighters and bold letters to emphasize important tasks such as exams and essays. Use check marks or cross completed tasks out when you have finished them so your list diminishes and you can look back on everything you have accomplished.
2. Prioritize Decisions (party vs. paper)
Your favorite frats formal or one of your friends birthdays is coming up in the next week. You have so much to do, so little time. But, you do have time. When you know a big event that you want to attend is coming up, spend time studying and preparing early for the exam or homework you have due around those dates. You can always work on school ahead of time instead of waiting until last minute. This is so when the day of an event arrives, you are prepared and on task.
3. Time for yourself
Getting caught up on all the tasks you have to complete for professors, parents, rental companies etc. can be overwhelming and in turn, you don’t have time to do the activities you enjoy yourself. One of the most important tools to fully utilizing the concept of time management is TIME FOR YOURSELF. Maybe you have a break in between classes on Tuesdays and during that time, you’re eating or on your phone…Grab a cup of coffee and read a book or take an exercise class at the gym. I understand that maybe some Tuesdays you have something due in your next class and have to finish it in those few hours in between, but it is important that when you have that spare time to spend some of it with yourself. Instead of studying in your room or the library, go to a local park or coffee shop and make the environment more enjoyable for YOU.
Flexibility is one of the most difficult steps for me in time managing. I’m HUGE on planning everything the way it is exactly supposed to be and sticking to that plan. NO MATTER WHAT. But this makes it even more stressful knowing that you’re forcing yourself to complete a task because it is on the list and you NEED to do it. Take a step back, make a checklist and try to see if there is another time you can finish what needs to be done. It is good to have a To-Do Today List but remember, it is okay if it doesn’t get done exactly at the time you planned it. Be flexible.
5. Utilize Spare Time
Yes, spare time is rewarding but sometimes spare time can be utilized in order to prevent more stress on another day. Instead of watching Netflix or checking your phone, turn off the electronics and take time to complete tasks on your list. The amount of hours you are on your phone, are hours that could’ve been spent going to the grocery store. Really look at the time you have and plan it accordingly.