7 Tricks to Manage Your Time in College

Does it seem like your to-do list is never-ending? Dirty dishes pile up in the sink, while your grades seem to be on a spiral downward. We have all been there! Your college experience does not have to be this way.

Follow these tips to begin managing your time like a pro.          

1. Use a Planner

Whether you prefer paper or digital, get in the habit of writing things down. Try color coordinating your days by subject (work, school, etc.). Plan out each day the night before.

Another helpful hint: go through the course syllabus at the beginning of the semester and write down when each assignment is due. That way, you will never be caught off guard.

2. Create Daily Checklists 

Who doesn’t enjoy checking items off a list? Before you begin each day, make a checklist of all the things you would like to accomplish. Be sure to prioritize what is most important. That way, the most important things get done and you avoid procrastination. Don’t feel pressured to finish everything.

3. Be Smart with Your Phone 

We all know someone who complains about how busy they are, yet always seem to be scrolling through Instagram. Don’t be that person.

Try folding a load of laundry or doing the dishes while watching Netflix. If you can’t seem to stay off social media, use your screen time settings to limit the amount of time you can spend on the app.

Rather than pulling out your phone during spare time, get a head start on homework. It may not seem like much, but that time will add up by the end of the day. This will enable you to do something social later on.

4. Stay Organized 

Keeping your class notes organized will help you save time. Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are ranked as the top two note taking apps of 2019. If you prefer paper, the best option is a notebook with dividers or an accordion folder.

Although keeping your class notes organized is important, it is also important to keep both your living and study spaces clean. Harvard University conducted an experiment on over 100 undergraduate students. Students were separated into two groups to solve an impossible puzzle. One group had a perfectly clean desk, and the other group had messy desks. The people who were exposed to the clean environment stayed at the task for an average of 18.5 minutes, while the other group only stuck to the task for 11 minutes.

Having a clean environment will help you stay focused. Designate a few hours once a week to clean your living space. Spend five or 10 minutes cleaning before bed each night in order to keep up with any clutter.

5. Study Smarter  

The concept of The Forgetting Curve was created by a German psychologist named Hermann Ebbinghaus. This curve shows that students will forget an average of 90% of what they learned within only a month.

In order to combat your declining memory, study smarter not harder! Remember those organized notes you took? Review those every day instead of cramming right before the test.

Start on bigger assignments and projects early. Break them up into smaller tasks. If you struggle with focusing, set a timer for 20-30 minutes and solely focus on one task. Take a 5-10-minute break before starting another task.

6. Make Time for Sleep

 Get enough sleep. According to WebMD, “Sleep actually improves learning, memory, and insight.” To decide on a bedtime, look at when you need to wake up each morning and do the math. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Another good rule of thumb is to minimize screen time for at least an hour before you go to bed. Screens stimulate your brain, making it harder to fall asleep.

7. Give Yourself Some Slack 

Don’t overdo it. Take care of your mental health. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, simply take a break. You will be more productive when you can focus better after distracting yourself for a bit.

Enjoy the social aspects of college. Socializing will build your confidence and keep you emotionally stable. Get involved with clubs on campus or take a fun class. Remember, life is meant to be enjoyed! Don’t miss out on life because you were too busy getting things done.

Want More College Hacks?

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Categories: College


Lyle · December 4, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Awesome. Good counsel.

Nyla Alldredge · December 4, 2019 at 11:41 pm

Great ideas for everyone , college students and those no longer in school!

Katelyn · December 5, 2019 at 6:22 am

I loved the daily list tip. That’s something that I’ve seen successful people do, but have yet to try. I’m grabbing a piece of paper and a pencil to create one for my day tomorrow right now!

Marie · December 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm

These are great. They also are great and helpful tips for managing a family of young kids and all their schedules.

Nathalie · December 5, 2019 at 5:24 pm

Tips 2 & 3 are great for everyone, whether you’re in college or not!

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