According to college students (see MyStudentBody “The Real Deal” Video: “Balancing Act”), time management is one of the biggest challenges when starting college. For many of you, this is your first opportunity to be in complete control of how you spend all of your time. Your parents aren’t right over your shoulder, making sure you go to class or do your homework. While this is a huge step, it is also a big responsibility. In college, a lot is thrown your way. Learning how to manage all of the opportunities can be hard. You may feel that 24 hours in day aren’t nearly enough for your schoolwork, social life, and extracurricular activities, not to mention finding time to eat well and get a good night’s rest.
Many of you have seen this image on social media:
This is funny because it’s pretty accurate. Even so, college has more to offer than just schoolwork and a new social life.
For many college students, this image is a little more accurate:
So how do you do it? How do you fit everything into your schedule without letting stress take control? The answer? Time management. Here are some tips to help you learn how to manage your new college life.
Tip One: Get a planner!
If your school has given you a planner, use it!
Write down all of your important assignments and extracurricular activities each day so you don’t forget that 5-point homework assignment because you’re too busy writing that midterm paper for another class.
Tip Two: Only take on as much as you know you can handle.
Find a balance between all of your activities. If you’re taking 18 credits, cut back on your work hours. Or, if you need to work a lot, cut back on the number of credits that you’re taking.
Figure out what’s most important to you and make those your top priorities. If you don’t have time for intramural soccer, flag football, AND softball, choose one or two that you really want to do, in order to have time for other things on your priority list.
Tip Three: Use your downtime appropriately.
More than likely, you won’t be busy every minute of every day. You’ll have some downtime. Use that time in the best possible way.
If you don’t get enough sleep at night, use the 15 minutes between activities to take a power nap. Even 10 minutes of rest can help restore your energy.
Use your downtime to look over your notes from your classes that day. It’s usually recommended that you spend about 2 hours a day studying for each hour that you spend in class. As a recent college graduate, I know that some days this is simply not possible. You just have to do the best that you can to keep up with your schoolwork.
Instead of spending time going all the way to your student dining center, try packing a meal or a snack while you are running from place to place.
Tip Four: Seek support.
Form a study group when preparing for exams. That way, you can bounce ideas off of one another. You’re also getting some social interaction at the same time.
Talk to your student advisor about time management help. They see students all the time who are dealing with the same things.
Take advantage of your tutor center. A lot of schools offer free tutoring services that can help a lot with schoolwork.
Tip Five: Find time to relax!
Take time out of your day for yourself. It’s important to spend some time focusing on your mental health. Try meditation or yoga, or see what your rec center has to offer.
So much of your time is taken up by things that have to be done, so it’s crucial to spend time doing things that you want to do.
It may seem impossible to find time to yourself, but don’t stress! If you follow these tips and work on managing your time appropriately, you can get everything done!
For more time management tips, check out this post on our blog as well!