It’s no secret that society has a productivity obsession. I’ve written an entire article on that fact alone! (*Subtle plug* https://www.hercampus.com/school/ucf/counter-productivity-being-productive.) Managing our time is something that’s expected of us throughout our lives to maximize efficiency, but it’s especially important in college when balancing classes, extracurriculars and jobs. It’s taken me years to find a system that works for me to manage my time effectively, but I’ve definitely come up with a few tips that have changed the game!
- Find a platform that works for you
Whether you’re using a calendar, journal, planner or online program, it’s important to find a platform that best suits your schedule. After years of experimenting with different scheduling platforms, I’ve fallen in love with Google Calendar because it lets me color code, change things easily, establish routines and see my week planned out by the hour. It also notifies me, which is a big help in keeping me from getting distracted on my phone or procrastinating. Being able to see what I have to get done and how long I anticipate it taking has been so helpful for maintaining a healthy schedule, and has made me much more productive. It’s always satisfying to change the colors of my finished tasks to gray and see everything I’ve accomplished, and that feat alone has been a huge motivator for me.
- Give yourself more time than you need
I’m convinced that this is the trick that got me through the fall semester. I always schedule myself more time than I need for my assignments, which ensures that I’ll get it done and even have a bit of free time after I finish my assignments. It also lets me take breaks and breathers, and helps me to get a clear view of what will actually get completed. I move anything I didn’t finish to the end of the day, but it’s very rare for me to have anything I didn’t finish out of the usual from my original plan.
- Schedule free time
This tip is so important! As important as it is to schedule deadlines, assignments and study times, I find it just as important to schedule time for hobbies and free time. Knowing that you have something to look forward to and that there’s time to relax and do the things you want to do is amazing! I also make sure to plan my necessities, like meals and laundry days. Planning your workload and free time together makes your schedule seem less daunting and a lot more doable.
- Make up due dates ahead of time
Despite what anyone tells you, due dates are not “do” dates. I’ve noticed that a lot of my assignments are due on Sundays, so I always try to plan to have them done by Fridays. I make myself think that the due dates are sooner than they are so that I don’t have to worry about them being late! I always plan on finishing my assignments one or two days before the assigned deadline, in case there’s a time where I need a mental health day, I’m feeling sick and need a day of rest, or if I just want to plan a day at the theme parks! Having that extra day is so helpful and necessary and it still ensures that deadlines are met. Getting in the habit of getting work done early really helps with productivity and definitely helps combat procrastination.
- Stay consistent
Keeping a consistent schedule from week to week can definitely help establish a routine that doesn’t feel stressful and seems more doable. Whether it’s assigning classwork to work on for each day of the week, or consistently doing laundry or cleaning on a certain day, having consistency from week to week will definitely make it easier to stick to a schedule!
All in all, mastering time management takes a lot of trial and error, but these are the tricks that have helped me the most and have made me a better student (and a happier person in general). Once you have a schedule that works for you, you’d be surprised by how much more productive you feel and how much more you’re capable of getting done! I hope these tips and tricks help you, and I wish you the best of luck in your spring semester!