Hey all. So it's September, which for a lot of people means going back to college. I know it can be really stressful managing school and work, as well as any other obligations. This post can apply to time management in general. So here's some tips on how to manage time wisely and stay on top of things!
1. Try your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday, especially during the week. Even if you don't start work or class until later some days, still try to wake up at the same time because you can be productive in the morning! It also helps your body establish a routine so it can function at its optimum. Make sure you're getting 8 hours of sleep everyday, or 9 hours if you really like to sleep. :)
2. Use a planner/ calendar. It's so much easier to keep track of everything that's coming up when it's jotted down somewhere, whether it's on your phone, computer or a physical planner. When I get syllabuses, I like to write down important dates and homework assignments for the whole semester. This helps me see which weeks I'm expecting more assignments or tests than usual so I can prepare ahead of time. I also write down my work schedule, which is especially helpful if you don't have the same schedule every week. This helps me visualize how busy I'm going to be. You should be doing this once a week.
3. Another thing to do with your planner is block out times you're dedicating strictly to studying. Every week, look at your schedule and try to plan accordingly how much you're going to study. Treat these times as if they're events you cannot miss, even if you're not in the mood to study or if your friends invite you out. Prioritize what's important so you can be the most successful. Here's an example of what your planner can look like (this is not my actual schedule):
4. When you are studying, turn your phone off or put it somewhere where you're not looking at it. Even if you look at your phone for a brief second, you're breaking serious concentration and throwing your brain off when studying. So try your hardest to not have any distractions. Your text messages and social media will still be there when you're done studying. You don't have to make yourself available to people at all times. Focus on studying and doing your homework because if you don't, you'll end up cramming everything until the last minute and dealing with unnecessary stress.
5. If you're feeling flustered or overwhelmed throughout the day, take 10-30 minutes to focus on your breathing and meditate. Try to clear your mind and recuperate. Again this should be a time with no distractions. This is a time to be calm and be mindful of the present moment only. "Right now I am in a quiet room. The sun is shining through the window. I feel warmth. I am breathing in and out. I am calming down," and so on.
6. If you are really exhausted, take a 10-15 minute nap. Anything longer will make you feel more groggy instead of energized or you might accidentally sleep longer than you intended. That will also mess with your sleep schedule at night. Trust me when I say 10-15 minutes is enough to give you that boost to continue the rest of your day. It's literally science!
7. Meal plan. Once a week, plan what you're going to eat for the whole week. Take advantage of your slow cooker for the busiest days. Here's an example of how I meal plan. I list day by day the meals I'm going to eat and what ingredients I need from the grocery store. I generally make Sunday mornings my shopping days and buy it at once. Use a system that works for you! I like to use recipe apps to help me search for things easier too. A lot of apps have categories like: cost efficient, quick and easy, low carb, etc.
8. Discipline is the most important thing. You need to stay motivated and stick to a good routine that incorporates all your obligations without making you feel like you're losing track of your priorities and yourself. Be strict with your time. Put yourself first and make sure you handle your stuff before trying to handle someone else's. Give yourself time for self care, whether it's getting your nails done, taking a bubble bath, reading a new book, going for a nice walk, etc. Have a system that works best for you. You can't go wrong with making lists and using your calendar! Use your smartphone for these types of things if you don't like physically doing it. Don't overbook yourself and give yourself breaks in between things!