I currently have the schedule of a senior in college. Well, not quite, but pretty close. In short, time management in college is almost impossible. You see, I’m supposed to study abroad next fall and I don’t want to have to worry about growing my portfolio or building up my resume while I’m abroad. Because who wants to worry about that when you are adventuring in another country? My typical day looks like this: I go to classes, write blog posts, work at one of my jobs, maybe two, eat, workout, try to spend time with friends and do extracurriculars, and study/do homework. With all this going on, I’m basically living two lives at once, not one.
So how do I do it? To be honest, it’s hard. But if it helps me get to where I want to be after college, I’ll do it. I still give myself breaks. If you push yourself too hard for too long, you will burnout. Here’s how to figure out what is important and give yourself a chance to stop an create-from possibly the busiest person on planet earth.
1. Figure out if you are doing too much.
If you are doing too much, the first step to relaxing is realizing that you are doing too much and need to take some stuff off of your plate. Somethings that might hint that you are doing too much are if you:
- Miss meals because you are running around and just “forget”, which can also mean you didn’t have time to and you made a choice to skip.
- You never get 8 hours of sleep, even on weekends.
- You are constantly writing lists, post-it notes, or in your planner to try and keep everything straight so you don’t forget anything.
- Saturdays are the only thing that get you through the week
- Making plans with people is almost impossible unless it is a quick stop at a dining hall because you’ve got places to be!
Do more than one of these sound like you? Then read on for ways to try and calm your schedule down. If you are feeling anxious the majority of the time, that isn’t normal and is probably taking a toll on both your physical and mental health. It’s important to cut back.
2. Write EVERYTHING down.
Write anything that you want to do this week down with an estimate of how long it will take you to do that task. It doesn’t even have to be academic. Want to go try a new restaurant with a friend? Write that down. Want to take a nap after your midterm on Tuesday? Write that down too. Once you can see everything, it’ll be easier to figure out what you can cut out. When it’s all jumbled in your head, you constantly feel like you are forgetting something, and that just contributes to your stress level.
3. Cut out stuff.
What things do you have to do no matter what? Go to class, go to work, do homework. Write these down in your planner with set times when they are going to happen. Now, add in things you want to do that will aid your mental health:
- going out on Friday
- hanging with friends
- working out
If you want to get more intense, add in your goals for the next semester. What GPA do you want? Do you need to get a job? That way, you can compare your prioritized activities with your goals and figure out if they are going to help you get there.
4. Get rid of things you can’t commit to.
This is incredibly hard for me. I’m someone who likes to make everyone happy and always be someone they can rely on, so bailing after I’ve already started is hard. If you are so busy that you can’t even get sleep or have a set eating schedule, though, at some point you won’t be able to do anything, let alone a few things. Cut back now so you can keep trudging forward. I had to quit one of my four jobs this year so I could focus on my health, and that is OKAY. I needed my schedule to change so I could keep functioning.
5. Now, take a deep breath.
Do something that helps you destress. Work out, paint, sing, do some yoga, anything that helps you feel calmer. For me, that is photography or playing ukulele. I give myself 30 minutes when I get stressed and it does wonders.
Time management in college is essential to achieving success. After detoxing your schedule, make sure you check back often to make sure you aren’t booking yourself too tight again. Now get out there and enjoy more of college!
What are your favorite ways to destress? Comment below!