If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m the type of person who needs five hundred things going on at once if I’m going to get any of them done. I thrive with a packed schedule, looming deadlines, and late nights. Just the thought of a “sophomore slump” terrifies me.
So when I say I’m in the middle of the busiest semester of my life, I mean it’s one of the best semesters of my life. To give you a sense of just how much I’m juggling, I’ll break it down for you:
- Six classes
- Five clubs (one of which I founded, another for which I design content and promote)
- One part-time job
- One internship
- Plus groceries, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.
- And of course having a social life, natch
I believe there’s always enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to do, you just have to want it enough to make time for it! For some reason, I always want to pack one million things into my days, but I make it work and somehow manage to do it all. It’s not easy, but I have six secrets that make it possible, and I’m sharing them with you!
Wake up early.
I know, I know. It’s way easier said than done, but there really is so much that can be accomplished in the morning besides sleeping in. Whether it’s getting in a quick jog before class or reading a chapter of your chemistry textbook (over a cup of coffee, obviously), you can do something you may not be able to squeeze into your schedule otherwise. Plus, you won’t be distracted by texts from your friends inviting you to hang out or catch a movie because, let’s face it, they’re probably still in bed snoozing. I’m not saying you should start waking up at 5:00am every day, but set your alarm clock for 30 minutes earlier and get a jump start on your day.
Make to-do lists.
In addition to maintaining a calendar, this is probably my most helpful habit. Every night before I go to sleep, I make a post-it note check list of everything I need to do the next day. This includes classes, work, showering, assignments, etc. By writing them all down, I get them out of my head so I’m not lying awake all night trying to remember everything. The list in itself helps me stay organized throughout my day, and helps me keep track of what I can do with thirty minutes between classes (like work on a poster design or write a paper) instead of just sitting on my phone, which leads me to my next tip.
Limit social media time.
The average person spends almost two hours on social media per day. Imagine what you could do with that two hours! Personally, I go days without having any social media apps on my phone, so as to resist the temptation of opening Instagram just to scroll endlessly through photos of brunches I’m not eating or parties I wasn’t invited to. But I know I’m not everyone, so maybe place all your apps into a folder on your phone and don’t let yourself check them until you’re on a snack break, or have five things checked off your to-do list.
You may be thinking this is the same tip as #2. It’s not. But, it’s just as important. As a college student, time management is crucial. When making to-do lists, don’t make a single bullet that says “start 8-page research paper that’s due tomorrow!!!” Because then you’ll never get it done. Instead, break your tasks down into manageable parts and check your syllabi daily to stay on top of assignments. I suggest getting ahead on the readings and papers while you can before the semester gets into full swing (personally, I snag reading lists before the semester even starts so I’m prepared for the first day of class).
Schedule “me” time.
It may seem insane for me to tell you to add another activity to an already packed schedule, but I’ve found that “me” time is some of the most valuable time I have. Having a “go-go-go” mentality can be exhausting, and can lead to a dreaded burn out. So, taking a break (and not feeling guilty about it!) is incredibly important. Unplug, read a book, take a walk, enjoy a cup of tea. Whatever you do, do it for you and you alone.
Don’t spend every single second of your free time slaving away at your desk job. Don’t load yourself up with too many internships or courses. If you get invited to the reading of a friend’s play at the last minute, don’t skip out because your to-do list didn’t account for that time. If you need a movie marathon night with your besties, go for it. (And don’t forget the popcorn!) For working as hard as you do, you deserve time to relax and have fun.
What’s your best tip on staying organized? Let me know in the comments!
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