I bet your life is crazy right now. Life will always be crazy, and a life in college is not void of that. Biola has endless amounts of opportunities that one can find themselves involved with, and a multitude of different people to do them alongside. I know that when I was a freshman who first stepped foot onto Biola’s campus, I wanted to do everything. I ended up overexerting myself and was scrambling to finish assignments. I have learned since then that I can still be involved in lots of different things that I am passionate about and spend time with those that I love, if I am able to manage my time well!
I am proud to say that I feel as though I have mastered time management, well at least as much as a busy college student can, and so let me share with you some of my tips!
- A PLANNER. All throughout high school I had a planner, but I never used it because I did not think that I needed to write everything down. Even if you think that you will remember everything, there is something really important about tangibly writing down everything that you need to get done and what is due on each day. Most professors in college will give you a syllabus in the beginning of the semester with all of your assignments, and I highly encourage you to get a planner and write down all of your assignments down right away. This provides a tangible look to your schedule and it can help you identify what days will be more challenging and what weeks will be more difficult in the semester as you look ahead. Write down everything. You will not be able to see all that you have going on in your life by just picturing it mentally, you need to write it down in order to look at it, and this shows you what days you are more free and what days you need to grind more!
- WORK AHEAD. I do a lot at Biola besides just my classes, and one of the main ways that I am able to accomplish all of that is by working ahead. I try to do all of my homework that is due that week in the weekend before and this allows me to not feel overwhelmed and swallowed during the week. Once I experienced the ever so terrible feeling of staying up till 5 a.m. finishing an assignment, I vowed never again would I not manage my time well. Since then, I have learned that we actually have the capability to do our homework ahead of time and to work ahead. Not only does this leave us less stressed, but also helps us to prioritize and manage our time well. That way if something unexpected does happen during the week, you have the freedom to do it and not be overwhelmed by school.
- MAKE TO DO LISTS. I make a to-do list at the start of every week, and sometimes even at the start of my day if I have a busy day. I write down everything, even if it’s minuscule, on this list so that I can stay on top of all that I need to do, and so I can visibly see what needs to be done. Additionally, the feeling of crossing something off the list and the joy of accomplishment that comes along with it makes you want to continue to do more. Having a to do list that allows you to see what you have to accomplish by a given deadline will help you to also see if you have the time to do something that shows up.
- LEARN TO SAY NO. One of the biggest reasons that I did not manage my time well in the beginning of college was because I had this major fear of missing out, so therefore I would say yes to everything people asked me to do. Not a wise choice. There will always be another late night food run, there will always be another coffee trip, there will always be another movie night. Realizing the social events that are important to you and keeping those on your list will help you to see what is important and what you have to say no to. Here’s a sad, but true realization: you cannot say yes to everything. But that does not mean you are missing out. Rather, you are saying yes to doing your work so that you can set yourself up for success later and have the capacity to do things that are important to you!
- WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. 30 minute meeting with a professor? Add it to your calendar. Hour long bonding event with your floor? Write it down. Coffee date with a friend? Make sure you put it in there. All of these things can add up and I have learned that when I do not write everything down, including the small and fun things, I end up not managing my time well because I do not know how much time I actually had. Do I send my friends a Google Calendar invite when we decide to hangout so that I can actually see how it fits in my schedule? Yep absolutely. Do they think I am crazy? Maybe. But, hey, I stay organized and I manage my time.
- WAKE UP. So much of our day and efficiency can be lost when we hit snooze seven times. One of the ways I manage my time well has been to create an actual sleep schedule and I make sure I wake up at the same time everyday. I wake up at 7 a.m. every morning to go to the gym and eat breakfast. This gets my day going, and starting strong means ending strong, and you are able to accomplish more.
I hope to not stress you out. College and Biola has been my favorite time of life thus far and I pray the same for you. There are so many amazing opportunities and things that you can be involved in, yet there are also classes and new friendships to navigate and sleep to have. BUT YOU CAN DO THIS. My last piece of advice in learning how to manage your time well would be to take action. Do the things that need to get down now so that you can enjoy the time later. You are capable of doing new and challenging and hard things. We believe in you.