When it comes to college, most students want to use their time for self-growth, self-exploration, and more! Some may just want to get their degree and get a job- which is perfectly fine too. Either way these few years can be utilized to build a resume, build a network, and build the scaffolding for a future. So when it comes to all of these things you can get involved with on campus, jobs you can pick up, hobbies you can invest in, and circles you can network with – it is easy to quickly overbook yourself. Most say during college there are three main goals: good grades, good social life, good health, but you can only have two at a time. To this, here at HerCampus we say have your cake, and get good grades too!
Most people work well with a five step plan, so let’s make one for us to stay organized, deadline thirsty, productive, and help us get all the things done. Before we dive into how to do all the things, please take a moment to really think about how much time you need every day/week/month alone to maintain both a true state of peace, and contentment with your life. Also, remember that is takes about two months to form a new habit, so make sure to truly commit to each step as you progress down your path of getting your schedule and time down to a science. So, without further ado- here are the five steps to do all the things.
Step 1. Use a calendar… I know, cliché, but it works
Pick ONE type of calendar that matches your fast-paced lifestyle. It is recommended to use something online so you can check, update, and manipulate your calendar wherever you go, but if you prefer paper calendars that works too. First things first about using a calendar is forcing yourself to write everything down I mean everything. The random lunch plans for tomorrow, the bar hopping next Saturday, the downtime, the homework time – EVERYTHING. Push yourself to do this for at least two weeks solid, and soon you’ll notice you’re doing it without thinking about it. You’ll be more on top of your fast-paced life if you set your weekly time commitments to repeat. Feel free to share your calendar with others so they have a good expectation of when they can FaceTime you to vent about their latest dating disaster. Using calendars help to visualize your day/week/month. If you are a super visual person (like me) then you can also use an excel spreadsheet to visualize your time every week.
This is what I do to visualize my week. Of course, there are variations week to week, but this really gives me a good look at how my time is broken up and allows me to make sure I can balance work, fun, relationships, and more. I know it sounds crazy, but I actually have a lot of free time because my time is so well managed. Can’t have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat, right? Pink Floyd anyone? Anyway… this is an example of visually organizing your time. (Get your work done before you do your fun stuff!)
Step 2. Lists. Use them, then lose them
It is so easy for things to quickly stack up on our everyday plate, that something is always forgotten until last minute. Avoid last minute freak outs by utilizing lists. Again, on paper, or on your phone. Lists are a great to help you remember the small things your boss told your coworker to tell you to do before that other thing that you already forgot to do yesterday. If you’re anything like me, I always keep lists on my phone and make a small game out of it. Every time I complete a list of tasks (usually five to ten items) I will reward myself with a small treat like Starbucks, or downtime – you totally earned it. One thing about lists is to make sure you don’t overdo it. No list should have more than five-10 items. At first, you may find yourself with long laundry lists of tasks, and chores, but once you Marie Kondo your life, you’ll find that five-10 items per list will be more than enough to keep yourself on track. Again- implement this religiously, and truly commit to checking your lists. Set a reminder on your phone for every to check your lists to stay motivated.
Step 3. Reminders, and Alarms
Using Post-It notes on your fridge, strings on your finger, or marker on your hand are great old school ways of remembering small things for a small amount of time. But it’s 2020: let’s act like it. Utilizing your phone, set alarms and reminders for your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. You can do this by putting it on your calendar and setting alerts, or you can simply use the alarms application. This is great for things like, “take your birth control,” “call your grandma,” “moment of meditation/thankfulness,” and motivation like “you’re killing it!” “you are someone’s reason to smile,” “remember that time you killed it in public speaking? Me too. You’re a goddess.” Utilize reminders to hype yourself up, but also to stay on top of your regularly scheduled programming, that can fall at the waste side in chaotic times.
Step 4. Open Communication
Yeah- remember how we said do all the thing? For your mental health, we are really focusing on doing all the things *you want to, and need to do* to be the happiest, and most productive babe you can be. One thing that a lot of people don’t realize about being productive and happy is being open about your schedule (since you know so much about it with your organized schedule). Being able to say yes, and commit to activities is amazing, but double-booking is the fastest way to appear unprofessional, and stress yourself out. So once you have committed to something, stick to it. Be open with people when you cannot meet deadlines, or be available at times they are curious about. Stand firm on your prior commitments, and follow-through. On top of all of this, understand that telling someone “that’s my off day, and I plan on spending some time on me” is 100% acceptable- and encouraged. Saying “no” can be one of the most empowering and subtle ways to show that you’ve got your stuff on lock, and you are a professional babe. If there is something that you don’t want to go to, politely decline. If there is something you want to do but cannot, communicate you want to partake in that but you would need it to be at a different time. Understanding what you can do, what you want to do, and how much rest time you need is crucial here. Lastly, ask for support, and understanding from those around you. When you say no, thank them for their understanding (no need to apologize, you haven’t done anything wrong!) When you say yes, ask them to remind you again prior to the event. Lean on people as you become to schedule senpai you are destined to be.
Step 5. Keep the momentum going. You’re doing great (and look great doing it)! Why stop now?
Each one of these steps will take time to implement and truly stick to. Don’t assume that these new habits will kick in overnight. But once you get these steps down, keep working on them. Keep your calendar updated, utilize lists, set alarms, have open and polite but firm communication. Lather, rinse, repeat. It takes on average about two months to really start a new habit and allow it time to become part of your daily ritual and life. So commit to being organized. This doesn’t mean keeping your desk clean, or your clothes off the floor, it means keeping your schedule and your tasks at the front of your mind and tracked. Set reminders to update your calendar if you keep forgetting to put tasks in as they are scheduled. Use paper lists and keep them in your pocket so every time you reach in you remember it. Be vocal about your schedule so those around you can support you. The more you put into it, the sooner it’ll feel natural, and all of these commitment and schedules, and tasks will be nothing but another productive day for you.
With these five steps, you are well on your way to being an organized, productive boss babe. Also always remember taking off days are necessary, variations in your schedule are completely fine, and sometimes your schedule won’t actually reflect your day-.All of that is perfectly fine. As long as you use these tools, you will be able to stay on top of all the amazing things you want to do, and more. Soon enough your time will be so organized you’ll be able to pick up an extra hobby, Netflix show, and yoga class (or nap session) on top of the rest of your well-organized lifestyle.