Prioritizing time in college is probably one of the most stressful things in the world. Every day, I find myself asking questions such as: do I have time to go to all of these clubs this week? When should I do my homework? That essay? When will I eat? Go to sleep? Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the right answer. Whether you write everything down in a planner or take notes, let’s be honest: keeping your life organized is very difficult to do. Luckily, I have a few tricks that help me keep my life sane and in order with a crazy and hectic college schedule.
Step 1: Use a planner or calendar.
If you don’t have a planner and you are having trouble with organizing your day, I highly suggest you invest in one. It is so worth it. A small, simple planner can easily do the trick. Even a small notebook. All you need is some place to write down what you are doing for the day. I also have my calendar on my phone and laptop, which are synced up together so that everything I need is always with me.
Step 2: Make a weekly (or daily) to-do list.
I think this is the most helpful tip for me. Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of the things I want to accomplish the next day. Usually, I plan what I am doing each hour of the day, from class, to studying to getting food. While this may seem tedious it really only takes me five minutes to do. Plus, it saves me time deciding what to do and I definitely procrastinate less. If a daily schedule is too much, a weekly one where you have an important thing to complete each day is also a good idea. For example, Sunday is catching up on homework, Monday is laundry and Thursday is the day when I have club meetings. Having each day labeled so you know when you absolutely need to do certain tasks really helps prioritizing what to do that day.
Step 3: Color code.
I am a strong believer in color coding. In my planner, each class has a specific color. Not only is it visually pleasing, it also helps me look ahead at the week to see what I have to do for each class. If I see pink, I know that I have a lot of writing to do. If I see green, I know that I should be working on science homework. Having a system that works for you will help you organize your life out and will make you productive. If you don’t like the idea of writing down your work, you could even color code your calendar!
Step 4: Check your email consistently.
Although it may be excessive, I check my email at least 10 times a day. I like to know that everything is planned out for the week and that nothing has changed in my weekly schedule. It keeps me on top of things and I feel more organized after going through my emails. While I know that not everyone wants to check their email 10 times a day, I think that checking it two to three times a day is perfect. Looking at your email in the morning, afternoon and at night will ensure that you do not miss anything important going on. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to do. When I see that there is a meeting or event I have to go to, I immediately add it to my planner or calendar on my phone. Knowing ahead of time about things that will be happening in your life is critical to succeeding in organizing your life, and checking your email is a great place to start.
Step 5: Prioritize.
Everyone has something that means a lot to them, and it is important that you are able to add that special thing onto your schedule. For me, I really enjoy having time to relax after a stressful week, so I block a few hours out for myself on the weekend. I also have a club that I go to every Thursday, so I make sure that my schedule allows for this. Prioritizing what is important to you will help you organize what you do during the week, ultimately making your schedule and life that much simpler.