How to Create a Routine this Semester

I was always that child who followed the rules and loved to follow a routine. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve strayed away from my ways and become much more disorganized. Especially during my senior year of high school and first semester of college, I did not adhere to a strict schedule. One could argue that this is due to having more responsibilities as one gets older, but I honestly think I could have held more of a grip on my life if I would have stuck to more of a routine. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of habits that I find helpful to help integrate routine into your life.



1. Actually, Use Your Planner

I’m guilty of this: buying a planner with an aesthetically pleasing cover, but rarely using it. This new year, do not repeat this pattern. Decipher what type of planner works for you. Do you just want to write out tasks that need to be done that day? Do you need a monthly calendar or a day to day hour by hour template to plan? Do you like writing down your to-do lists or would you rather become an avid user of Google Calendar? Once you know what system works for you, buy the planner that can accommodate this and stick to it.


2. On weekdays, have a set bedtime

As a young adult, it can seem childish to have a bedtime. However, I find my peers and I always complaining about the lack of sleep we get. In order to get enough sleep, you need to calculate how much sleep you need and what time you should be in bed to achieve this amount of sleep. Saying “I should be getting 8 hours of sleep” to yourself isn’t going to fix the problem. Establish a bedtime and stick to it. If you set 11:30 PM as your bedtime, adhere to it and don’t make exceptions about it unless absolutely necessary. When you start excusing yourself for not sticking to such bedtime constantly, establishing that bedtime routine will never happen. Once you get into the rhythm of having a set time to be in bed by, you’ll find that you are more productive during the day because you know that staying up until any hour to complete all of your schoolwork isn’t an option.


3. Have a set gym time

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to go to the gym? Well, in order to stick to it, you have to schedule it. Thinking about going to the gym today does not equate to you actually going to the gym. Find a friend who will hold you accountable and go together. If you’re someone who does not like to workout with others, make sure to hold yourself accountable by scheduling in when in the day you have to go and don’t make excuses for why you cannot make that set time.



4. Have Breakfast Plans

This tip specifically applies to those people who do not have morning classes. During my first semester, I found that on the days that I did not have class until 11:40, I would stay in bed and waste my mornings away. Then I started scheduling breakfast with my friends who had to be up earlier for classes. This way I had people to hold me accountable for getting out of bed. Also, once you are done eating breakfast, you are already awake, so you might as well do work. All together, this tip ultimately improves productivity.


5. Create a Balance between your social calendar and academic life

Saying “yes” to everything can be a habit we can fall into because we all want to have fun.  If you struggle from FOMO (fear of missing out), you need to learn to cope with not being at every single event. I remember at the beginning of college, I felt really self-conscious if I was brushing my teeth and going to bed while others were putting on lipstick to go out. I thought I was doing something wrong because I was not going out all the time. However, I’ve realized that college is all about balance. Locking yourself away studying nonstop is not healthy, but being too social can also be problematic. Yes, we go to college for the full experience, but we go there first and foremost to get a degree. To create a balance, actually schedule in study time, so then if you have an event you want to go to, you’ll get your work done beforehand. Also, if you have a lot of impending assignments and exams, be mature and say no to going out because school comes first.


6. Do not Procrastinate

One Sunday night, my friend and I were up in the lounge doing our English assignment. I remember thinking in my head how I had so much time over the weekend to do this, yet I procrastinated and was doing this assignment late at night right before it was due. My friend and I were so annoyed at ourselves for doing this. I was half asleep, so I was not doing my best work or really learning the material. If I would have planned time out to do the assignment and actually had done it during the day on the weekend, I could have gone to bed on time and not done such terrible work. I know there are lots of memes about procrastination, but don’t do it. You end up hurting yourself, and it’s not just a funny meme anymore.