As a double major in music and journalism, writer and blogger, Vice-President of the Catholic Student Fellowship and unstoppable procrastinator, I’ve been forced to learn a thing or two about time management (the hard way). With the finals study crunch right around the corner, it’s a crucial skill to learn. If you’re overwhelmed because your time keeps disappearing, here are some practical tips I’ve drawn from my own procrastinating experiences to make sure you’re happy and successful in the face of college stress.
1. On your busy days, schedule everything.
For starters, if you don’t keep either a physical or digital planner, get one immediately. And if you already have one, take it to the next level. Scheduling the following day hour by hour (deciding exactly when you will do homework, have fun, sleep, even eat) might feel constricting, especially if you’re Type B like me, but I’ve found that it’s immensely helpful on days I get paralyzed by stress.
2. Get your dates straight, right now.
Performing arts majors know this all too well, but it can be useful for anyone. Any time you receive a date for any test/event/appointment/etc., get it in your calendar/phone/planner that very moment. This ensures that every time you receive a date, you’ll pull out your calendar and be reminded of what else is in your schedule. Not only will you avoid conflicts or overcommitting yourself, but you’ll be able to plan your homework time around any given event and ensure that you have enough time to prepare for it (and avoid awful glares from your advisor like I received this morning).
3. Install a time-saver app
If you’re someone who’s prone to unintentionally spending an hour Facebook stalking (not that I’ve ever done that …), consider installing a time aid on your laptop or phone to stem your distraction. My personal favorite is StayFocusd, a free Chrome extension that blocks sites of your choosing and displays a “Shouldn’t You Be Working?” message after 10 minutes on those sites per day (there’s also a paid smartphone version called Freedom). Others include the URL redirector Switcheroo and apps BreakFree, AppDetox and OffTime.
4. Be realistic about sleep
You know whether you’re a morning or night person, so don’t kid yourself about how late you can keep studying or how early you can force yourself to get up. Not only will you avoid throwing your day off by oversleeping or becoming an irritable zombie, but you’ll actually get more and better work done if you do it at the time of day when your brain is functioning at its highest.
5. Treat Yo’self!
Finally, when you’re scheduling your days, be sure to make at least a little time for something you enjoy every day. It can be easy to think you need to fill your whole day in order to catch up with homework and projects, but the reality is that everyone needs time to unwind. And if you plan your relaxation time, you can be sure that you won’t end up wasting time with a binge watch after rage quitting your homework.