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Time management is hard! For me, it has always been something I’ve struggled with, and I always find myself overloading my schedule between school, extracurriculars, and life. It’s difficult to find a good balance where you can get everything done and still have time for yourself. In college, I decided to make this a priority, and though it is still a work in progress, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned along the way this semester. 

One of the main things I’ve learned is the importance of writing stuff down. In high school, I was so used to my teachers posting assignment details and reminders online, making it more difficult to forget to complete homework. However, in college, with so many long-term assignments and work being more self-directed, I realized just how easy it is to forget about things I need to get done. 

I purchased a planner, which is something I’ve done in the past but have never been able to stick to. This time, I paid special attention to what I needed out of a planner instead of just getting the prettiest or most aesthetically pleasing one. For me, that meant getting something with daily schedule templates and to-do lists. However, some of my friends like monthly layouts, use online planning apps like Notion, or even make bullet journals. Everyone manages their time differently, which is another thing I’ve learned. 

I also made a spreadsheet of all my major assignments which has really helped me see the big-picture view of the semester. The idea came from a TikTok, and it’s been an amazing tool. I had never been one to actually plan out everything on paper and write things down, but being able to check both my planner and my spreadsheet to make sure everything is done, or that I have a plan to get everything done, really does make a difference. 

The other piece of time management that I’ve learned is how important it is to make sure I have time blocked out when I’m not doing work. College is really hard at times, and I didn’t realize how quickly my schedule would fill up. At the beginning, any time I took time to watch one of my favorite shows or call a friend from home, I had a list of things I still needed to do running through my head. I learned that if I try to get work completed ahead of time, some of the time between or after classes could be used to chill. If I had completed my work, I wouldn’t feel guilty about taking time to relax. 

However, sometimes completing work ahead of time is not always possible. Even when that happens, I still try to carve out an hour or two where I commit to not worrying about work. It’s kind of hard to let go of the to-do list running through my head, but if I plan out my day and know that I will have time to do the things I need to do later, it removes some of that worry. 

On the other hand, I sometimes struggle with making my breaks too long and getting distracted by friends, social media, or other fun things. Planning has really helped me with this because it helps keep my day on track. When I find myself getting distracted, I think of my to-do list and try to decide if taking a longer break will completely throw off my day. If it will, I will try to get back to work. If not, then I allow myself the break. Sometimes I really need that slightly longer break, so it is worth it to change my schedule a little bit. In this way, I think I’ve learned to be a little more flexible. 

Time management is really important, but also really challenging. So far, planning, making time to relax, and being flexible have all been key to helping me succeed in college. It’s a different process for everyone, and I hope you find what works for you!

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Sarah is a freshman at Boston University studying Film and Television in the College of Communication. She is originally from just outside Baltimore, Maryland. She enjoys working on craft projects and watching TV, and she is so excited to be writing for Her Campus BU!
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