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Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Now that fall is well and truly here, the novelty of college has probably worn off a little. If you’ve suddenly found yourself face-to-face with reality, completely exhausted and having lost every single piece of stationary that you started with, you’re not alone.

Time management is a big concern for most college students. The flexibility of independence can also make it difficult to prioritise college work, social events, basic hygiene tasks and the hundreds of voicemails that your parents have left you.

Before you decide to give up and take a nap, follow these tips and you could be on your way to having it all.

Organization is the key to success

Whether you always carry the new (and, lets face it, completely blank) planner that you bought at the start of the year in your bag for peace of mind, or you often find yourself frowning at indecipherable reminders on your phone’s notes app, settling on a solid organization system is vital for time management.

Even if you pride yourself on having a fantastic memory, writing everything down will ensure that you know what’s on your to-do list. With millions of productivity apps at your dispense, logging events and setting reminders will lift the added pressure of remembering your homework and help you to generate a productive schedule. Just remember to bite the bullet and prioritize which tasks make it to the top of your list.

Practice makes perfect

Routine and schedule are two key concepts that are fundamental to time management at college, where there is no one to hold you accountable for your whereabouts. Typically, it is expected that you allocate around 35 hours per week for working and studying, including the time you spend in class. With other obligations and social activities in mind, creating a weekly timetable that leaves time for independent study will help you to stay focused and productive. Blocking out leisure time will also give you something to look forward to each day, and you’ll probably work faster knowing that the end is in sight.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of staying up late in order to squeeze in everything on your to-do list, but getting enough sleep each night is one of the most important steps in your routine. Luckily, the idea that everyone needs exactly eight hours sleep is unrealistic—some people may only need six, and some may need nine. Sleep is often considered in terms of 90-minute cycles and you should get at least five whole cycles per night (7.5 hours). Here, the key is to set a time to go to bed every night and stick to it. Every time you change your body’s wake time, it suffers something resembling jet lag, making you feel groggy and affecting your performance, even if you’ve had more sleep than usual. 

Limit procrastination

We’ve all been there. Making the executive decision to take a five minute break and cheer up with a cat video seems like a great idea, until you catch yourself poised to click “adopt” four hours later, only to realize that your accommodation doesn’t allow pets. Cue the panic, self-hatred, stress and eventually a nap to make it all go away, and you probably haven’t achieved a great deal. Breaking up your work into small steps can help you to focus and make the task at hand seem less overwhelming. Create a deadline for each of these steps so that you’re not waiting until the final deadline is near to begin work.

Nobody is perfect—instead of punishing yourself for wasted time, assign rewards for any work that you do complete. Lunch, an episode on Netflix, or a free hour to spend with your friends can all be incentives to be productive. Limiting distractions like your phone, social media and TV will make these rewards even more enjoyable, and seeking out a buddy to hold you accountable will ensure that you don’t break your own rules.

The key to time management can be as simple as understanding yourself. Self-awareness will help you to recognise the times of day when you’re most focused, and whether you’re more productive brainstorming with a group or on your own.

Healthy body, healthy mind

You’ve probably heard this one countless times, but making sure you allow time for self-care is essential for your mental and physical health, as well as your attention-span and energy levels. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week can literally boost your brain power.

Ask for help

Ever heard the idea that we learn from our mistakes? If you’re struggling to find a balance at college, that’s okay. Adjustment takes time, but you may need to accept that you’re trying to take on too much. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or mental health representative could help to ease some of the pressure and enable you to rationally think through your options and figure out a new plan.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

Bullet Journaling

Seven Effective Bullet Journaling Tips

By Rose Martin

College life can be extremely stressful. Balancing multiple responsibilities, projects, examinations, extracurricular activities, work and social life is an overwhelming experience for most students, often causing them to lose sight of their long-term aspirations. Every student struggles with effective time management and organization amidst the chaotic college schedule, which may contribute to stunting his/her career growth. If you are looking for a simple and effective way to organize your life, bullet journaling can help you manage your tasks and set your priorities right, putting you on the fast track to success.

A neat and organized bullet journal with intricately-designed pages and handwritten notes speaks volumes about your personality. Though bullet journaling isn’t easy, it is a quick and effective technique to get a grip on your life, inspiring you to stay organized, creative and productive.

Here are seven valuable bullet journaling tips that will help you stay organized and manage your time, enabling you to build a bright and successful future.

  1. Determine your objective

Before you dive into bullet journaling, it’s crucial for you find your motivation. Determining your expectations and motives for starting a bullet journal will help you document your life events and goals in an effective manner. Moreover, your primary and secondary objectives will determine the format of the journal, enabling you to include the necessary sections or collections.

For instance, if your primary objective is to organize your college life, your journal must give due importance to your lecture schedule, the study time, the extra classes and the examination schedules. You could have other objectives of starting a journal, namely planning your diet and workout sessions and/or monitoring your savings and expenses.

  1. Focus on the basic elements

The index, the collections, the rapid-logging, and the migration make up the basic structure of a bullet journal.

Index  

The index typically takes the first page of the bullet journal that helps the journalist to organize the various sections or collections, ensuring easy navigation through the journal pages. Make sure you include all the important topics with the corresponding page numbers and leave enough space for sections you might want to include later.

Collections

Every page in the bullet journal is given a topic that serves as a means to organize similar ideas. These topics are referred to as collections which may utilize several pages of the journal. The three main types of collections are –

  1. Future Log – This section is used to note down events and appointments in the future
  2. Monthly Log – This section enables you to organize your month using the calendar page and the task page. The calendar page must have enough space to enter short notes or events that you need to remember.
  • Daily Log – This section helps you manage your daily tasks, events, and notes in order of their occurrence.

Depending on your objectives, collections can also take additional forms, namely meeting notes, shopping lists, expenditures and mind maps.

  • Rapid-Logging: Rapid-logging helps you make entries in the short-form notation using bullets and signifiers. You can use the task (indicated by a dot), the event (indicated by an open circle), or the note bullets (indicated by a dash) throughout the collections to signify whether they are scheduled, changed, or completed.

A few examples of signifiers are a star symbol (*) for priority tasks, an eye for ideas you need to explore, a dollar sign ($) for purchases, and an exclamation mark (!) for a new inspiration.

  • Migration: Migration helps you review your performance and filter out the tasks that haven’t been accomplished. It is typically done at the end of a month when preparing the next month’s log. Evaluate whether the unfinished tasks are still crucial and worth doing and migrate them between collections on a monthly basis.

Further reading: Six Helpful Time-Management Tips for College Students

  1. Use signifiers and doodles creatively

Embellishing your bullet journal with signifiers and doodles will make it look arty and appealing. Signifiers give the bullet points an additional context, enabling you to enter short notes in a creative manner. Elements such as dots, circles, dashes, stars or asterisks, crosses, right and left arrows and exclamation marks help you chart out the daily, weekly, or monthly plan quickly and easily.

  1. Invest in good-quality tools

For bullet journaling, you will require tools such as a notebook, pens, sketch pens, rulers, Washi tapes, and stickers. These tools will determine the life and the attractive appeal of your bullet journal. Moreover, good-quality tools will help you stay committed to the cause, motivating you to use them creatively in your journal.

Invest in archival-quality paper that is acid-free, enabling you to keep your handwritten records safe and fade-proof. Most bullet journalists seem to prefer notebook brands, namely Leuchtturm 1917, Moleskine, Rhodia and Essentials. Pigment and ink pen brands like Sakura Micron, PilotFriXion, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner and Uni-ball Jetstream can help add a touch of color and creativity to your journal.

  1. Don’t go completely off technology

Traditionally, a bullet journal involves penning down your daily activities, events and future goals. However, amidst your demanding schedule, you may miss out on some important events or deadlines. Use digital tools such as Google Calendar, Todoist and Evernote along with your bullet journal to manage your appointments, project deadlines and tasks effectively.

For instance, at the beginning of the month, enter your monthly plan in the Google Calendar and use your bullet journal as a daily tool to compile and monitor the tasks, the events, and the goals by referring to the digital calendar.

Using the best of both worlds (on and offline) will help you organize your life and focus on your professional and personal goals.

  1. Don’t be afraid to experiment with bullet journaling

Bullet journaling is a creative journey in which you constantly need to experiment in order to come up with the most effective organization style that meets your needs. Since you are new to this process you may be tempted to follow the various formats available online. Regardless of whether you try the original Ryder Carroll style or other contemporary ideas, remember to experiment and be open to change. Retain what’s working for you and get rid of formats that are not helping you achieve your objectives.

  1. Get inspired, but avoid comparison

The internet is full of inspiration with millions of Instagram and Pinterest users posting gorgeous bullet journal pages. It’s ok to refer to them for a few creative ideas, however, avoid comparing your journal with others. Every person has a specific objective for maintaining their bullet journal and the format will change accordingly.

Comparing yourself with others will disappoint you and stop you from trying new things. Your bullet journal is unique to you and must meet your requirements. For instance, if you like to express everything using symbols and doodles, nothing should stop you. Similarly, if you prefer scribbling your goals instead of using symbols, go ahead and do it.

College life is all about planning and organizing tasks, managing time effectively and setting objectives that help you realize your purpose in life. Use the above-mentioned bullet journaling tips to take control of your life and build a bright career.

Rose Martin is an editor at Book Siren. Book Siren helps readers learn about various book publications and authors. Rose likes to travel with friends and family. Her main interests are music, reading novels and fitness. Reach out to Rose at martinrrrose@gmail.com.

Time-Management Tips for College Students

Six Helpful Time-Management Tips for College Students

College students are forever sprinting through their packed schedules, getting assignments done, meeting family and social commitments, working part-time and lots more. While they have the freedom and flexibility of college life by their side, it’s essential for them to be able to manage their time well.

If you’re going to be starting college soon, or are already overwhelmed by the buzz, here are six helpful time-management tips for college students.

  1. Use the Priority Matrix

It’s difficult to accomplish anything when you have too much to do in too little time. The best way out is to think about your priorities, identify the important ones, and approach them one-by-one.

Use Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle. List all to-do activities and categorize them into any one of these four:

  • Important and urgent
  • Important but not urgent
  • Not Important but urgent
  • Not Important and not urgent

Categorizing your tasks this way will help you identify ones you need to focus on and ones you need to ignore.

  1. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing tasks, and we’re all guilty of doing this—especially for things we think are going to be unpleasant or difficult. While you’re technically setting yourself up for more stress by putting off a tough chore for later (because you’ll eventually have to get it done and you could be underestimating the time or effort that the task needs) procrastination also makes you unproductive!

Called the Zeigarnik Effect, the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about something that you pursued and left incomplete can keep you from accomplishing other tasks that you undertake. To avoid this, try this helpful time-management tip: break up your to-do list into smaller actionable items and refrain from jumping to another task until you complete the one you started off with.

  1. Join a study group

Joining a study group in college has numerous advantages and is brilliant in aiding time-management. By learning with other students, you can try out different learning methods and see which suits you best, fill in learning gaps by comparing notes, and break the monotony of studying alone.

Most importantly, joining a study group can help you manage your time effectively by serving as a motivator to stick to your study schedule. Also, since you’ll be committed to spending a certain amount of time studying, you’ll cover your syllabus quickly and efficiently.

  1. Use technology

There are several apps out there that can help you juggle through family and social commitments, work and coursework!

  • To-do list apps like Listastic, 2Do, and EpicWin are digital list trackers with varying features that can help you manage your time effectively.
  • With productivity apps like Evernote, you can keep your notes and ideas in one place; Remember the Milk helps you set up multiple-platform reminders, and 30/30 lets you understand how long you take to do things.
  • RescueTime and AutoSMS can help you reduce on-screen time, while stickK.com can keep you motivated to achieve goals.
  • Online calendars can help you collaborate on projects easily.
  1. Learn to say no

Saying “yes” can be crucial to success—but so is saying “no”. If you’re constantly saying yes to all ideas, opportunities and tasks that come your way, you’re not valuing your time or managing it correctly.

Of course, it can be difficult to tell your best friend that you can’t accompany them to the party they were looking forward to attending, or tell your professor that you can’t review their manuscript as you have to study for an exam. However, being honest about your commitments and schedules will help them understand your situation, and most of all, will help you achieve the more important tasks effectively.

Remember K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple and Short! Be assertive and communicate your answer clearly, but also be respectful of others.

  1. Get rid of clutter

Clutter in your bag, on your desk, or in your wardrobe can build up stress, cause you to waste time looking for things you need, and make you unorganized. In addition to this, mental clutter can reduce decision-making skills and give way to procrastination.

Use the SPACE approach to help with time-management and do away with clutter:

  • Sort: Group belongings into categories
  • Purge: Do away with broken and useless items in each category
  • Assign: Give sorted items a permanent place to be stationed in
  • Containerize: Storage containers, bins, and shelves can make organizing stuff much easier
  • Equalize: Spend some time once each day or each week to go through your belongings, to purge, and to return items to their dedicated space

You now know what you need to do to stay on top of your assignments, work schedule and other commitments. Get started on implementing these six time-management tips for college students and you’re sure to see a positive change!

Author Bio:

Korie a full-time writer currently working with Only hangers and usually writes about living and lifestyle, she likes getting perspective on various topics of interest, which range from bullet journaling to creating the perfect terrarium!