The first two weeks of the fall 2021 semester have been quite crazy for many, if not all, CU Boulder students. For me, the transition from being completely online to spending most of my time on campus was exciting, yet somewhat chaotic. I felt that in order to adjust smoothly from the online environment, and to balance classes and my personal life, I had to find ways to manage my time effectively. Since many of you may be experiencing something similar, I would like to share with you four ways of efficient time management for this academic year.
- Make a Daily To-Do List
Whenever you wake up in the morning, you always have a routine of things that you do before you head to class, like brushing your teeth or packing your backpack. To make sure that you don’t forget any of your daily tasks, one great strategy is to write down all of them either on a sticky note or on your phone. Save or place it somewhere where you can easily find it; that way, you have an easy reminder as opposed to trying to remember everything in your head.
- Utilize Your Online Calendar
College life can be full of different commitments, and this time, many of them will be in person, which means you will have to consider factors like transportation and money. In order to keep track of both your academic and non-academic schedules, I strongly recommend putting all of your events, meetings, and classes on an online calendar (e.g. Google calendar, Apple calendar, etc.). Since many of us are used to using our phones, setting these reminders on an online calendar will help us avoid being late, absent, or underprepared for certain events.
- Avoid Distractions
Returning to life on campus can bear more responsibilities than being online. This can sometimes tempt you to slack and inch away from them for a few moments. So, here’s my piece of advice: time is gold, and these “few” moments can actually be exchanged for something really productive. During your free time, resist the urge to take out your phone, and instead, remind yourself that you will have time to do it later, as long as you finish some work right now. If you only have a few minutes to spare, even writing an important email to your professor can be considered productive. Then once you reach the end of the day, you’ll feel more relaxed knowing that you’ve finished some important work instead of putting it off for later.
- Decide What’s Right For Yourself
You may have attended the involvement fair and signed up for many different student organizations. You and your friends may already have plans of places to hang out and activities to do together in the coming weeks. While it is totally fine to have an engaged schedule (in fact, I encourage you to get involved), just remember that it’s totally okay to say “no”. Everyone is different, and you may have other obligations in your life that others don’t. Remind yourself not to be peer-pressured into doing something you might not be interested in. It’s important to do or attend to what you prioritize first. Also, you’ll most likely have another chance for something else in the future, so don’t feel bad that you can’t, for example, make it to a hike with your friends.
Returning to being in person after one entire year of online classes has been quite a challenging adjustment for many of us. However, for me, I found excitement in it, because I finally have the chance to do things that I haven’t done in a while, like hanging out with friends and exploring new places. This motivated me to want to manage my time well, and I hope this article will also inspire you to do the same.