By Christopher Woo, Peer for Career
Most college students have heard that they must pick two out of three: grades, sleep or a social life. With everything that goes on in college between jobs, homework and extracurricular activities, getting two of those seems like a stretch. Three seems impossible. But there are many things a student can do to make the most of their time and reach for the impossible trinity. It all comes down to one of the most important things in college and the working world: time management.
The themes to time management are pretty simple: prioritize, meet deadlines and create an environment where you can be productive. But achieving those themes on a micro level can be difficult, especially with all the distractions around you. Start with prioritizing and getting a planner. For some, writing things down is one helpful way to remember; for others, it’s the major catalyst to accomplishing something that needs to be done. Whether physically on paper, or on a phone, having a to-do list will help you get organized. From there, you can prioritize tasks by deadline and get the urgent ones done first. Planning out your day and sticking to this plan will reduce the chances that you get caught off guard and help you get everything done.
Creating a productive environment is another key to time efficiency. This means leaving social media and phones aside so that you can focus on the work you have to do, which will give you time for sleeping or going out later. Putting your phone on “do not disturb” may silence the need to instantly respond to every notification. For those who are easily distracted, temporarily blocking sites like Facebook, Twitter or Netflix (even if you have “The Walking Dead” to catch up on) may help you focus better on meeting your deadlines.
But one of the biggest keys in managing your time is that you have to know yourself. You are the only one who knows how many responsibilities you can handle. This means saying no when you need to. When people ask for things that may exceed your current capacity, whether social or professional, saying no could be the key to giving yourself enough time to balance everything out. Always saying yes puts a lot more on your plate and makes you the go to person when someone needs something extra done. This could take away from your time to study for good grades, sleep or hang out with friends. Knowing your limits, respecting them, and communicating them considerately to others is the key to balancing and managing your time. Learning to manage your time now will not only allow you to achieve high grades, get enough sleep and enjoy a social life in college, but it will also help you reduce your stress in the professional working world and in life.