There are some things in life people will probably tell you over and over. Here’s one of them: managing your time is all about prioritizing and staying organized.
Prioritizing what is most important in life can be a tough decision, especially if choosing between school and your social life. So let’s start with something easier. Staying organized is not a difficult task to accomplish, even for our most chaotic friends.
Step one: buy a planner. Step two: use it. It might be a little extra work to write out your schedule and all the tasks you have to get done, but it will be beneficial in the long run. You cannot manage your time if you don’t know what you have to get done. Write to-do lists every day if it helps. Just make sure you know what needs to be done and when–this is key for the prioritizing part.
Staying organized is not just about using a planner. Make sure to have separate folders or binders for all your classes and know which ones to take with you when you leave your dorm in the morning. It is even helpful to make your bed in the morning. Keeping your room tidy may not seem all that important, but a clean space can go a long way for being productive and managing your time.
Next up is working on things in order of importance. Prioritizing can really fluctuate depending on the week and your mental state. For a normal stress level week, get your homework done in the order that it’s due. Then work ahead if possible to maximize time management. That way you can take a breather when needed.
If it is week six and upcoming midterm projects are raising your stress level, try to work on things that seem more manageable. Knock out a bunch of smaller tasks and then go about the nerve-wracking ones. Just keep in mind due dates so you do not miss something big. In these times it is also important to take mental breaks so you do not get burned out before everything is done.
School should always be a high priority–you pay a lot of money for the education, so you might as well pay attention too. That does not mean that your life outside of academics has to take a back seat. If you feel the need for social interaction, plan to study with friends, or get together with them when the rest of your to-do list is checked off.
In any case, you can become a professional time manager. It just takes some effort, like most worthwhile things in life. So remember, nothing in life is certain except taxes and death, and managing your time is as simple as organizing and prioritizing.