How to Establish a Comfortable College Routine

My only concept of following a routine prior to college was my morning routine: a series of about three steps that I would often skip for a few extra minutes of sleep. My life was one responsibility after another that would randomly get completed throughout the day. It felt like my only option was stress and missed due dates.

So, why did I let my schedule get so out of control? The simple answer: I really dislike doing extra work. Spending long periods of time organizing my responsibilities sounded like an extra job that I just didn’t have time for. My track record for organization was already sub-par at best, so I figured I was just saving myself the trouble. 

Oh, boy, was I wrong. Organizing your responsibilities doesn't have to be scary. I learned that the hard way. Forming a routine shouldn’t feel like an extra task to add to your to-do list. In fact, it’s a way to narrow your list of responsibilities by working efficiently. 

A college routine can look like different things to different people. A routine is meant to work around your pre-existing schedule. It’s a way to maximize your time so that you can spend the rest of it doing what you want to do!

1. Map out your free time during the day.

Locate where you have free time and make a note of it. Write down all of your free blocks of time and take inventory of them.  Any space in between class, work or other responsibilities is usable space!     

2. Form a list of everything that is important for your to complete on a daily basis.

Start with the most important things near the top, then estimate the amount of time it would take to complete each activity. It could be anything from homework to catching up on the latest episode of Queer Eye. Basically, anything to make your day run smoothly.      

3. Match up your blocks of free time to the activities you need to complete.

Certain things (homework before a specific class, showering after the gym) are going to nonnegotiable things, or things that only belong in one block. Once these are sorted, you're left with free time that can be divided according to your most important responsibilities.

The wonderful thing about having a set routine is that you eliminate any guilt. You can feel comfortable knowing that your nap is already preplanned, or your late night Bachelor in Paradise viewing party was scheduled in advance. It allows you to take care of the necessary things with enough time for the extra activities that are important to you. All you need to do after is be sure to actually follow through will all the less exciting blocks of time with actual responsibilities. Once you commit to your routine, you can commit to a more organized life.