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5 Easy Steps to Stay on Top of Things This Semester

Keeping track of your schedule, your work, and meeting all of your goals can be hard. It's easy to become stressed and overwhelmed by everything you need to remember to do while trying to stay (or get) healthy and fit. Here are five simple steps to help you stay on top of your schedule and homework while meeting your other goals so that you can crush this semester.

Step 1: Take time to properly fill out your Google Calendar.

Google Calendar is my best friend and a great way to keep track of your schedule. As a Gustavus student, you already have a Google Calendar that has all your classes on it--great! But simply having a class schedule is not enough, as we all have lots to do each week. Fill out your calendar with every detail you can--practices, rehearsals, meetings, and workouts. Even add time dedicated for going to the library to study or when you are going eat lunch. Once you have your calendar filled out as much as you can, make sure you set each event to repeat every week and, presto! You have an weekly schedule for the entire semester! Finally, download the Google Calendar app on your phone and link it to your Gustavus email, so you receive notifications about what you have to do next and always have your schedule with you.

Step 2: Follow your schedule.

The hard part is actually following your schedule, but it's worth it to put in the effort. Having a weekly pre-made schedule makes life so easy. You never have to worry too much about forgetting anything (for example, you will never need to plan out when to go the the gym that week because you go at the same time every week). Nor will you ever forget because your phone will send you reminders about what you have coming up. It is also super easy to change your schedule with Google Calendar, so you can adjust your schedule if you need to.

Step 3: Plan ahead.

Planning ahead does not have to mean planning when you are going to do everything and working way ahead like you might think--it simply means taking a quick look at what is coming up so you're not surprised by anything. At the end of every week, usually Friday or Saturday morning, I sit down and write down all the homework that is going to be due the upcoming week on the day it's due in my weekly planner. This just helps me see exactly how much work I have coming up so I can figure out how much work I need to to do over the weekend. Not only do I do all my work for Monday, but I also try to finish most of my work for Tuesday during the weekend, as well. This works in case I have a bad day or something comes up, so I'm a little ahead and I won't become more stressed, overwhelmed with work, or get behind.

Step 4: Form groups with your friends.

Another easy way to stay on top of things is to have your friends hold you accountable for getting things done. Form groups with your friends and plan to meet regularly to do things such as study, workout, or make sure you're all eating healthy. This way you will have others to encourage you to meet your goals and you can encourage others to meet theirs. Plus, if done right, it can be good bonding with your friends. However, only form these groups with friends who will actually hold you accountable and not let you cheat, and remember to also hold your friends accountable in return.

Step 5: Track your progress.

A great way to make sure you are following through on things that are harder to track, such as eating healthy, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep, is to use a habit tracker. These are simple apps you put on your phone that you can use to track certain habits. There are many of these apps, but the one that I like is called HabitBull. All you have to do is add the habits you want to track and then each day before you go to sleep record whether or not you were successful at following through (ex: drinking 4 glasses of water a day). Then, the app will give you data about your progress over time.

Hopefully, by following these simple steps, you develop some healthy habits, begin to hold yourself and others accountable, and are on your way to having a better and more successful semester!

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