5 Tips for Time Management in College

5 Tips for Time Management in College was originally published on Leland.

For many of us, college is the first time in our lives that we have complete freedom over our schedules – and there is no shortage of options for how to spend your time. Should you study in the library? Get coffee with friends? Join an intramural team? Hit the gym? Go to the game on Saturday night? There’s an endless amount of ways you can fill your time in college, and if you don’t want to be left scrambling to finish your assignments before the clock strikes 11:59, you’ll need a plan for how to make the most of your time. Here are 5 tips for management in college:

1. Make planning your week part of your routine

Set aside 10-15 minutes each week to go over what you have coming up–tests, assignments due, social activities. I like to spend a few minutes each Sunday reviewing what I have to do each week, so I know what to expect and can plan my time accordingly. You might consider writing out all your school assignments at the beginning of each month so you can pace yourself on bigger projects and know when you may need to work ahead.

2. Figure out which planning method works for you

I live by an old-fashioned planner that I can put in my bag, but maybe you prefer Google Calendar, an app, or even a large wall or desk calendar. There’s no right or wrong way; figure out what works best for you and stick to it. We all process information differently, and what works for me might be overwhelming or frustrating for you. I personally like to color-code my planner by category because it helps my brain break up the information and makes each task feel less daunting, which you can do regardless of which planning method you choose. When it comes to completing tasks, some people prefer to knock out smaller tasks first, while others would rather get the big project out of the way. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

3. Build in consistency where you can

Having a consistent routine can help you stay grounded when the semester gets busy. Setting aside consistent hours to work on homework or engage in self-care activities will help your day feel more balanced and provide a structure that keeps you from “wasting” the day (aka scrolling TikTok for hours or sleeping all day… which I’m definitely guilty of!). It’s also important to know where your energy levels are generally at throughout the day so you can build a routine that makes sense for you. I am not a morning person, so trying to get up early and study has never worked for me – late-night homework sessions were always when I was most productive. Likewise, I tended to find myself in an afternoon slump in college, so I would go to the gym then to give myself a little energy boost for the rest of the day. It’s all about what works for you.

4. Realize that you can’t give 110% and adjust your expectations accordingly

You simply can’t give 100% to every task you have in front of you (that would be like… 5000%). Your time and energy are limited, and that means sometimes you might turn in assignments that aren’t your best. That’s okay. All you can do is be realistic about your time and prioritize tasks as best you can. The same goes for non-academic activities; we don’t always show up how we want to in our friendships, at practice, or at social events. If you try to give 100% to everything in your life, you will likely end up burned out and disappointed. Give yourself grace, and learn to let go of perfection.

5. Leave room for spontaneity

Don’t let your “plan” get in the way of enjoying real life. The unplanned, unexpected moments are what make college so fun. Time management should help you plan your time so that you can live in those spontaneous moments stress-free. It’s meant to be a foundation, not a rigid box. Let these tools bring you more freedom in your schedule so you can be present in every moment of your college experience.

Haelee N. is a recent Baylor MSW graduate with an incredible knack for storytelling. She is your go-to person for college essays; from the writing process, to editing, to getting those final touches just right, you want her on your team during the college admission process. Schedule a FREE intro call with Haelee N. today!

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