In our busy lives, we’re always looking for the best ways to manage our time and stay organized. Personally, my time is absorbed by classes and assignments, my internship and nanny jobs, preparing and attending club meetings, my boyfriend and friends, and working out. The following are my secrets to success.
A planner – honestly, that could be my two word answer to every time management problem. I rely on my planner like food and water. If I don’t write something down, chances are, I won’t remember to do it. Assignments, appointments, work schedule, due dates, and to-do’s, they all go in my planner! Suggestion: I use pencil rather than pen- between all of those items, several are bound to change during the week, and my planner would really be a mess if I couldn’t erase what I wrote previously. If something isn’t due for a few weeks, I’ll write it down in parentheses so that it’s on my radar, but I know it isn’t urgent. For my to-do list and non-urgent items (“Fill out the Common App” for when I transfer), I like to use colorful sticky notes that I can easily move to the next week when I flip the page. As I go through the day, I cross off what I’ve achieved, so that I feel extra productive.
When I’m feeling unmotivated, I like to remind myself that, “The more I do now the less I need to do later,” especially when it comes to online classes. To keep track of my online class assignments, I use sticky notes to write down every assignment with its due date. I then place those sticky notes in my planner on the weeks that they’re due. This saves me time and stress down the road because I don’t need to log onto WebStudy except when I know something is due. My favorite part about doing this is that I get to cross off every assignment when I complete it. If that isn’t satisfying, then I don’t know what is!
To keep all of my leadership and member roles organized, I have a folder per club. All papers and notes relating to my internship go in a red folder, everything for Student Senate goes into a white and blue folder, etc. I even have a folder for the Campus Activities Board, even though I don’t have a leadership role- I believe it’s important to keep any papers I receive so that I can answer my own questions in the future. All folders, by the way, are labeled with a colorful sticky note on the front. Sticky notes are where it’s at!
Take advantage of the time given to you on the weekends! Personally, I often have a couple chunks of time over the weekend in which I do as much as possible for the upcoming week. You can either choose to optimize that time, or waste it and then pay for it later in the week when you’re up all night writing that paper. The added bonus in this deal is that you’ll have time for someone else to proof your paper before you hand it in. Also, you’ll enjoy a break at the end of a busy day knowing you already did the assignments the weekend before.
When it comes to time management, I’m lucky that my boyfriend attends college hours away. This way, I’m not obligated to see him every day (even though I wish I could). We’re both busy, so we text each other between our activities during the day, talk on FaceTime about every other night, and occasionally watch a movie together over Skype. Most days, my phone is on silent so that I don’t feel pressured to check it as soon as it goes off; instead, I check it when I get the chance. We’ve been together long enough that we realize as long as we keep each other updated, we don’t need to constantly talk. Another bonus of going to separate colleges is that I have time to spend with my girlfriends. I don’t however, spend hours upon hours with them – everything in moderation!
Although it’s difficult at times, try your best to make time to work out, even if it doesn’t mean going to the gym. (But if you have time, go to AFC Fitness with your free membership! Contact Human Resources to claim yours!) Working out will make you feel happier, healthier, and more confident and energetic. Even a small workout is better than nothing. My sister does a wall sit and calf raises while she brushes her teeth. When I don’t have time to go to the gym, I do bodyweight exercises while the kid I watch is napping. Another way to sneak in a workout is to do one while you watch T.V.
On top of everything mentioned above, I also value sleep. It shocks me how much more I enjoy life when I get the right amount of sleep, not to mention how much healthier I am. For me, a perfect night consists of 9 – 9½ hours of sleep because more sleep than that actually makes me feel sleepy all day. It’s up to you to experiment with your sleep schedule until you find a happy medium for your body, and then stick to that schedule! If I let myself, I’d be up all night, so I actually have an alarm set every weekday night that tells me to go to bed, depending on when I need to get up in the morning. I promise, you’ll thank yourself in the morning when your alarm goes off and you don’t want to throw it across the room! Understandably, getting the ideal amount of sleep probably isn’t possible unless you don’t procrastinate and do manage your time well!