Written by Meaghan Bitters, Staff Writer
With all the hustle and bustle of daily college life, it can be hard to balance school, work, homework, fitness, and your social life. It’s easy to become discouraged and feel overwhelmed. Don’t let adult responsibilities get you down and prevent your success. It’s important to tackle your responsibilities head on, rather than procrastinate which can leave you feeling guilty.
Here are ten tips to help you become more productive, and thus successfully balance college life:
1. Wake up early.
If you wake up 30 minutes to an hour earlier each day, you will have more time for planning out your day. You also won’t feel rushed or stressed, but rather calm and ready to take on the day.
According to lifehack.org, if you were to get up just one hour earlier each morning, you would gain 15 days in a year.
We all have the same 24 hours and waking up earlier than others will get you one step ahead of the late risers.
Also, since not as many people are awake early, there will be fewer distractions, thus allowing you to accomplish more.
2. Make a to-do list
Every morning write down at least three things that you are realistically capable of accomplishing that day.
A to-do list can help you stay on task and make sure you’re accomplishing what you need to do in a timely manner.
A list will also help you avoid forgetting to do things.
Throughout the day, make sure you focus on one task at-a-time to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Once you’ve achieved everything on your list, you’ll feel good about yourself and avoid the guilty feeling of unaccomplished duties.
Another way to avoid feeling overwhelmed with your to do list is to change the way you talk to yourself. According to lifehack.org, “the words and phrases you use immediately empower you or they don’t; they either make you feel better or more stressed.”
Instead of telling yourself about how many things you have to get done in a limited amount of time, try saying things like: “I need to do x and y. What is the best way for me to get everything done?” (lifehack.org)
3. Write a stop doing list.
There’s always room for improvement and if you set goals to stop doing things that have a negative impact on your life, you’ll start to feel less stressed and therefore, are able to be more productive.
Steve Jobs said, “What made Apple ‘Apple’ was not so much what they chose to build, but all the projects they chose to ignore.”
Don’t be afraid of saying “no.”
Stay focused on your priorities and make sure you’re allowing yourself to take on tasks that are realistically accomplishable.
4. Use a calendar
Calendars allow you to have an overview of your schedule.
If you use an electronic calendar, you can set alerts for upcoming deadlines and events.
If you don’t use an electronic calendar, that’s ok, as long as your using some type of device to organize your schedule and are actually keeping up with it.
5. Set alarms to keep you aware of time
You can set alarms to remind you to complete a task, take a break, or to move on to the next task.
These alarms will help you with time management.
For example, if you want to be ready to leave the house at 9 a.m. set an alarm for 8:45 a.m. to give you a 15-minute warning and then again at 8:55 a.m. so you’ll know it’s time to gather your things and head out.
6. Set aside time for when you can relax
Setting aside non-working time gives you something to look forward to and can be motivational.
According to psychologytoday.com, solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivity.
7. Stop multitasking
Science has proven multitasking is nearly impossible.
Rory Vaden, 32, a founder of Southwestern Consulting, a sales coaching company, said, “everytime you switch between two activities it costs you extra time.
As previously mentioned, avoid distractions and focus on one task at a time.
8. Use technology to eliminate distractions
According to forbes.com, you can use Leechblock or Nanny to block out times when you can’t access social media or other distracting sites.
9. Change your evening routine
Do things at night that will better prepare you for the morning.
For example, if you lay out your outfit the night before and have your backpack packed and placed by the door with your house keys and all your other essentials, you’ll save time in the morning, feel more calm and prepared to tackle your tasks of the day.
10. Prepare meals ahead of time
By making your breakfast, lunch and snacks the night before, you’ll save time and money by not having to go out and buy food throughout the day.