This is a guest post by Miranda Brumbaugh. It includes some specific tips for college students, but there are other useful tips for everyone.
Part of the excitement of adult life is that you are free to make your own decisions, to choose your own path. Yet before you know it, your carefree schedule become extremely stressful as you attempt to balance school, work, social life, housekeeping and recreational activities.
Become more efficient by minimizing your daily routine via scheduling. Check out these simple ways to transform your crazy days into a seamless way of life.
1. Stick with One Calendar
So many different things are going on that it is impossible to remember everything.
The first way to increase your focus is by writing down all of your deadlines, upcoming projects, social activities and work days. However, when you have a large calendar on your desktop, a calendar hanging next to the fridge, your smartphone calendar and a daily journal, it becomes overwhelming.
First of all, you are spending a large chunk of your time writing down your events in each of your calendars. Secondly, you are more likely to miss an important date or deadline simply because you forgot to transpose the information in all places. Having everything in one spot saves you a ton of time and hassle.
The best method is to use a single calendar to keep track of all of your assignments, projects, recreational activities and work schedules.
The preferred type would be an 8 x 11-sized planner that provides a full sheet of paper for each day. This will provide you with plenty of room to write down everything from important phone numbers to outlines of upcoming projects.
2. Stay on Schedule
Putting off important dates and extending deadlines only creates havoc.
You miss out on important opportunities to grow as an individual when you miss social functions with friends and colleagues. Assignments simply pile up when you delay deadlines.
So, make use of your single planner and keep track of your scheduled activities. Otherwise, everything snowballs causing highly stressful situations to arise.
3. Clean, Clean, Clean
While cleaning your home may be the furthest thing from your mind, you’ll find that a clean room is a happy room.
Schedule to clean for a few hours a week. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in that amount of time. The best day to clean is on Sunday afternoon, as a way to get organized before the start of the week.Another time, such as before school or work in the morning, may work better for you depending on your schedule.
Cleaning not only helps you find your favorite T-shirt, but you’ll appreciate having a clean and orderly space when it comes time to study or sleep.
4. Simplify Study Time
If you are a student, studying efficiently is essential to being successful in college. By the way, being successful in college is not limited to memorizing things in the short term in order to ace an exam. The goal of college is to build a foundation of knowledge that can be built upon once you enter the ‘real world.’
In order to study more effectively in a shorter period of time, try these scheduling tips:
- Schedule study time for a short period every day rather than attempting marathon cramming sessions; you’ll be able to focus better and be more likely to retain the information.
- Start with the most difficult subjects when your concentration is at its highest point.
- Do not attempt to multitask. Studies have shown that doing more than one thing at a time, such as watching TV while reading, results in mediocre results. If you need to listen to music while studying to help you focus, stick with classical music or instrumental tunes.
- Focus on one subject at a time during your study period rather than trying to jump from math to science to social studies as you complete assignments and readings.
- If you are studying for midterms or final exams, delegate a set amount of time for each subject, i.e. 30 minute blocks, each day. Spend the appropriated time on each subject before you come back to a particular topic. This will give your brain a break. Also, if you have studied daily, then you will spend this time reviewing material you’ve already learned.
5. Money Matters
Managing money or lack thereof is especially hard when you are a student or early in your career.
Money issues start in college for students thanks to student loans and to a lack of financial stability due to full time coursework. Schedule your budget by determining exactly how much money you have to spend each week or month.
Plan to spend 25 to 30 percent on food. Budget for personal bills, rent, transportation, school supplies and entertainment. For months when you anticipate a larger portion will be spent for things like textbooks or travel, plan ahead by saving at least 10 percent of your income each week.
Start simplifying your life while in college, and you’ll develop habits that will carry through to adulthood. Increase your self confidence by staying on schedule. Additionally, by making life easier for yourself, you improve your opportunities for success in the real world.
Miranda Brumbaugh is a freelance writer focused on web content, as well as a librarian at Platte Public Library. An occasional contributor to DegreeJungle, an online research resource for college students; she also writes a weekly column, The Loquacious Librarian, in the Platte Enterprise.
* Photo Credit: by Sara. Nel