Managing a Busy Schedule for College Studentsby Niclas Marie
While in college a student can easily become overwhelmed by a schedule that is busier than he or she is accustomed to. Trying to juggle one's studies and social life can quickly become overwhelming and may eventually threaten one's grades and educational goals. This is further exacerbated by other bad habits that consume one's time, such as procrastination, for example. Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to cut back on the number of activities that make up a student's schedule. To create a balance between study and social interaction, students must learn and implement valuable time management skills.
Getting and staying organized is a simple and highly effective way of taking control of one's schedule. For people who have a tendency towards disorganization, this may prove challenging despite its simplicity. Habits can be difficult to change, but the rewards for successfully doing so are more often than not worth the effort. One of the first and most important steps is to immediately and faithfully make note of what needs to be done and when. There are a number of methods that can successfully accomplish this such as using a spreadsheet program on one's computer or laptop, a planner, organizer, or calendar. Whichever method a person chooses it should be one that he or she finds convenient and easy to use. Documenting assignments and events will make it easier to keep track of them, but only if the student makes an effort to consult it on a daily basis.
Preparing for the next day is another way that students can be more organized. This can be as simple as selecting what to wear, putting books and assignments in one's bag, or setting the alarm clock. Having these things ready will help eliminate the morning rush and may even allow the student to get an early start on his or her day. Reducing clutter in one's dorm room, apartment or home will also reduce the risk of losing important papers.
Plan Ahead for the Week
Planning ahead for the week is another way in which a college student can make the most of their time while managing a busy schedule. At the beginning of the week, the student should look over classes, commitments and activities that are logged in one's day-planner or calendar. For each activity students will want to first determine a time frame to complete it, and second, make efforts to shorten the length of time that it will take to complete them if possible. For example, consider whether any two assignments can be combined or even divided up into multiple tasks.
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Prioritizing one's work will not only help them complete it faster, but it will also ensure that the most important items are done first. After the important items have been identified they need to be labeled or arranged in order of urgency. One way to do that is to label them with a letter, number, or even a color so that they are immediately identified based on priority. For example, if using letters, assign the most urgent assignment or activity with the letter "A." The next item of importance should be given the letter "B" and so forth.
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Clear goals can help improve a student's focus and often allows him or her to perform better. By setting a goal the student has created a clear vision of what he or she wants to achieve and when. Goals should be specific in that they state exactly what the student plans to achieve. They should be realistic, obtainable and something that the student's actions can influence. He or she should also be able to measure the progress that is being made toward reaching the goal.
Stress is a common and natural consequence of an overly busy college schedule. Ideally, the best way to manage it is to avoid overloading one's schedule in the first place. Unfortunately, stress can be unavoidable for some students. When this is the case, stress management strategies can help make it more tolerable. Stress is hard on one's physical and mental health. For this reason getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet are two key aspects of stress management. In addition, exercising will not only help strengthen the body, but it is also a way to release stress. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing can also prove beneficial. During days that are more work than relaxation, taking short breaks can help. During these breaks students may want to take a walk, talk to a friend or simply spend a few minutes alone. Another way that people can manage their stress is by not attempting to do everything on their own. They shouldn't be afraid to reduce their burden by saying no or asking for help when needed. Take things into perspective and realize that there are some things that cannot be changed, while others can. Once a student realizes this they'll feel less overwhelmed by those factors that are out of their control and can focus their energies instead on what they can.
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