It's the night before a big paper for your writing class is due and you haven't even started on it yet. You also have a fifteen page PDF to read, and you haven't even begun to study for your Spanish test. What in the world have you been doing all week?
College years are the "greatest years of your life," many say. But that doesn't mean you can neglect your school work for college fun. So if you need help to effectively manage your time, here are a few tips:
- Don't overload your schedule
It's tempting to take every class you possibly can. Maybe the class looks fun, maybe it's part of your intended major, maybe you have a friend taking it. But, know that you're going to have homework in every one of your classes. Don't take a semester full of hard courses and expect to have tons of free time. Take a couple harder courses, and fill out the rest of your requirements with easier courses. You will thank yourself later.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE
If you don't have a class for a couple of days, it's easy to tell yourself you have plenty of time to do homework. However, you have other classes with other homework, maybe a job, maybe you get distracted with friends, and suddenly you're up at two in the morning trying to finish your homework for your 9 A.M. class. Oops. So try to do your homework as soon as possible. If you have time between classes, start then. Get as much done as possible. When your classes are over, go to your room as soon as possible and crack down! Get it done so you don't have to worry about it later.
- Be firm with yourself
Tell yourself "I will study for an hour, no exceptions." Or, "I will not leave my room until I have read all/half of the reading assignment." Or whatever you feel you need to get done. Just buckle down and do it.
- Take a break
If you have hours upon hours worth of homework, don't try to do it all in one sitting. Be reasonable in you expectations of yourself. Take a 15-20 minute break every hour or so and wander into the common area to see what your peers are up to. Go outside and walk around campus. Fill up your water bottle. Take a potty break. Just make sure you don't get completely distracted and don't return to your work.
- Form a study group
Work is more fun when you're doing it with other people. So form a study group where you all help each other with assignments. Make sure the group stays focused on work, though, and doesn't stray too far off topic.
- Keep a planner
Seeing your schedule written in a planner will help you see just how busy you are. If you have a Gmail account, Google Calendars is a great way to physically see when you are or are not busy. You can even schedule hang-out times with friends so you see exactly how much time you're leaving for you to complete homework. Or, ideally, you should schedule homework time and see when you can hang out, right?
- Spend your easy weekdays doing homework
Try to save the weekends for fun. If you have one, or no, classes on Friday, for example, designate Friday as your homework day. Sure, it doesn't sound fun, but if you spend a good part of your Friday doing homework, you can party it up Friday night, into Saturday, and maybe even Sunday, virtually guilt free (when it comes to homework, anyway). If you save the weekends for fun, your friends are more likely to also have time to hang out with you, because they also will not have classes.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for you to manage your time and let you also live out your college career in the way you want.