When I was in high school, I was not the busiest person. Sure I played soccer, worked as a barista, and took a few college classes, which all had somewhat of a time commitment, but –– for whatever reason –– I did not need to work very hard to manage my time.
This may or may not be true for you, prospective student, but this lack of pressure caused a significant lack of ability to deal with pressure in the future. As a result, my first semester of college was pretty rough.
I took a hit my first week of college when I didn’t write down my assignments and deadlines for the week. I was left playing catch-up for a solid two or three weeks, and it was not fun.
Upon getting an on-campus job, responsibilities began to stack up. Between all five of my classes, my job as an ambassador, and trying to regularly call my family and friends back in Utah, I was left feeling constantly defeated, stressed, tired, and sometimes depressed. It didn’t help that I wasn’t spending time with God very frequently and spent hours on my phone throughout the day. It wasn’t complete chaos and exhaustion 24/7, but I was constantly in dire need of a nap and maybe a bit of caffeine.
I didn’t manage my schedule well, I didn’t have time to rest, and I missed out on having a more rich experience my first semester. Luckily, the minutes finals were over, I took a deep sigh of relief and felt a tremendous weight drop off my shoulders as our month-and-a-half long winter break approached. I had time to reflect on the previous semester, much of which I wrote about here.
I've had a lot more success in the arena of time-management this semester. I've been more organized with my schedule and more diligent about getting my work done. Here are a few strategies I used:
- Keep track of it all.
One of my biggest mistakes during first semester was that I didn’t keep track of anything. This semester, I've been maintaining a list on my computer of what homework is due when, and I use my planner to write what work I have to accomplish each day. (I know how you might feel about planners, I always threw mine away in high school too.)
- Stay off your phone.
This is so important. I am not kidding when I say this was the game-changer for me. Click here if you want a little motivation to be on your phone less, written by yours truly.
(If you’re introverted, you might not have to try very hard at this.) There are many locations at Biola that are not a wise choice if you’re trying to be productive, especially if you’re an extrovert like me. I have found it extremely helpful to find a homework spot that either: a) Nobody you know goes to, or b) Nobody at all goes to. This is not necessarily a rule of thumb, but if you get distracted easily (like me) then this can go a long way.
- Schedule some time to rest.
I rarely rested last semester. Unless you count sitting on my phone for an hour, which isn’t good for productivity and doesn’t really help you rest. Lately I've been scheduling regular times to be free of work, and it has left me refreshed and ready to start up again on the homework grind. I even tried Sabbathing as a result of my fellow blogger Jeremy’s inspiring post. Check out his insight here.
I’m definitely no expert in managing my schedule, but these are just a few ways that I have improved in this area. If you have any suggestions yourself, as well as any questions, feel free to click ‘ask me a question’ at the top of the page!