College is like one’s journey during a buffet — there’s a lot of things to do. I mean, where do you start? Which food items do you really want? How much of each can you eat and manage to avoid an unforgettable battle in your digestive system?
None of these questions are ever easily answered completely, but they can be attended to diligently to achieve good results. This is where the words “time management” come in. Once you learn to master time management, you can master college.
Calendars: you need them. You really do. For a long time, especially in high school, I thought I could do without having to set up events or keep reminders on a calendar … I was wrong. While I could remember things like due dates for assignments or club meeting times, that was merely “mental energy” being unnecessarily used. Plus, it’s easy to let something slip through your mind when you’re trying to keep up with other activities in your life like watching that TV show you love so much or going out with your friends for dinner. It takes only a few minutes to download a calendar app or use one already on your phone, but the feeling of regret after you miss that deadline for that English paper lasts longer.
Apart from using tools to help you manage your time, you should prioritize what you do in the first place. You may be tempted to do things that give you satisfaction now, but you must consider the consequences in that moment when you’re deciding between going for one more game of football or practicing problems for your math quiz tomorrow morning. Doing math may not be as fun as throwing a ball, but that ball will always be there ready for you to throw across the field, while your score for the math quiz will not be negotiated. An easy way to prioritize is to weigh the following: urgency, importance and long-term impact.
Learning how to divide your time between different activities is also important. Try to give yourself some sort of time limit to a lot of things to do. Try to quantify. What I mean is try not to think, “I’ll spend some time at the dining hall before I go back to my dorm/house to take a nap,” rather say “I’ll try not to spend more than 2 hours in the dining hall, so I can get back to my dorm/house to take a nap for about 30 minutes and then finish up whatever I must do that night, such as laundry or a club meeting.” A little quantification here and there will go a long way in keeping you organized.
Finally, don’t waste your time stressing. Don’t stress about anything. The time you use up worrying about a certain thing is simply time lost. You should always either try to find solutions to whatever problems you’re facing, or do something else completely different. By doing this, you are not only using your time wisely, but you are also doing something to improve yourself, ease off tension, or simply relax.
Although these may seem like very little things, they come with a huge positive impact on your day-to-day life. Utilizing these tools and techniques has made me live a somewhat less stressful life during the academic year, and it’s going to do the same for you!