The truth is, college can be a handful. Your days are already filled with classes so that you can graduate and find a career you love – but, it’s not cheap! On top of those classes, we sometimes have to get part-time jobs in order to support ourselves. And on top of that? We still need time for studying, group projects, and of course – time for ourselves to just relax and do things we love.
Situations like this can totally leave us feeling stressed or burnt out. Your college experience should be enjoyable, though. So if you’re feeling stressed, can’t find free time, and you’re losing sleep – take a look at these time management tips.
1. Prioritize Your Schoolwork
Feeling like you have a million and a half things to do for school can be overwhelming, especially when you have to do it all between going to classes and your job. It will help put your mind at ease when you actually have a plan on how you’ll tackle your studying and assignments. Here’s what we suggest doing:
- Write out all the tasks you need to complete.
- Sort them by priority – Consider which ones will take the longest, which ones have the closest due dates, and which ones are overall the most important for your grades.
- Tackle them accordingly!
Sorting your assignments may seem like an unnecessary task that will just take up more of your time, but it’s totally worth it. Simply having some organization while you’re doing your schoolwork will help clear your mind of that overwhelming mental clutter you feel when you have so many things to get done. Seeing which projects will take you longer will also help keep you from procrastinating, which is a total nightmare when you’re so busy to begin with!
2. Keep a Planner
If you don’t already keep organized with a planner, you might want to consider it. Staying on a schedule helps prevent the stress of finding time to get things done because you’ll already have that planned out. If you haven’t gotten the idea yet: mentally organizing tons of responsibilities = stress.
Between classes and your work schedule, block out times that you’ll be able to dedicate to your schoolwork. Then, using your list of prioritized tasks from above, start scheduling when you’ll work on each one. For longer tasks, break up the work throughout multiple blocks of time so that you’re not overworked in one sitting.
3. Revise Your Work Schedule
It’s difficult planning your work schedule before you know what your classes will be like. After you get a chance to feel out the semester a bit, you’ll get a better idea of which days are less stressful for work shifts than others. See if you can revise your work schedule so that you’re not super busy all at once.
If need be, talk to your employer about cutting down on your hours. We get it – you need to work in order to support yourself and your schooling. But at the end of the day, you’re only harming yourself if you’re over stressed and can’t find time to get your work done. After all, you should want to do well in school since it’s helping you build your career and you’re paying so much for it! If you find that this is the case, even after prioritizing your assignments and utilizing a planner, you may need to shave a few hours off of your work schedule.
Your grades will thank you.
4. Control Distractions
When your days are so busy, there’s no time for distraction. If you want to be efficient, limit your distractions while you get your work done so that you’ll complete your assignments and studying more quickly. We know that it’s easier said than done, though. We’re always itching to check social media or browse the internet instead of tackling what we should be doing. Consider using a temporary website blocker, such as SelfControl or Cold Turkey. Another good idea is to pop in some headphones and play some soothing music so that you won’t get distracted by anything going on around you.
5. Multi-task When Possible
Look, we’re not saying you should take out your textbook and start working on an assignment in the middle of a work shift. And we’re definitely not saying to do anything crazy like pulling out some study flashcards while driving to your job. But, there are certain times when multitasking can help you out.
Finding just a little bit of time here and there to get some studying done can make a tremendous difference. Take some time to review your school notes while taking care of less mentally involved day-to-day tasks, such as during your break at work, while eating a meal, while waiting for a bus, or while getting ready in the morning. Those little bits of time can add up! It also might help if you download a digital version of your textbook – that way you can just pull out your phone or tablet to study instead of lugging around heavy textbooks everywhere.
Hopefully, these tips will help you conquer the semester while performing well at your job! Want more time management tips? Check out another one of our time management guides, or check out our tips on beating procrastination.