Whether you’re entering your first semester of college or on your last semester, developing good time management skills provides a better, more productive, lifestyle. When I attended college, I made a personal goal that I would get as highly involved as I could with campus life. What I didn’t know was that college life can become stressful and highly overwhelming when you don’t know how to manage your time. Joining a sorority helped me develop this skill, and I continue to use it even now that I have graduated.
After becoming an official member of Alpha Sigma Tau (AST), I knew I would be taking on more responsibilities. I had to learn how to stay committed to attending chapter and philanthropy events while focusing on academics. Not to mention I worked at my part-time job, interned and wanted to have a social life outside of my sorority. But I succeeded in balancing everything.
My sisters understood the stress I was undergoing and gave me these tips on how to balance a busy schedule. The tips I learned from them and have implemented into my daily life are below.
Getting your schedule organized is the first step of developing time management skills. After registering for my academic classes, I would immediately make a full semester schedule that included the days and times I had each class. After scheduling my classes, I would move on to scheduling my work and intern hours. Finally, I would schedule my studying/homework hours and personal time. I color-coded my schedule and jotted down the places where every class or event was. Writing it all out was helpful for me to visualize how I would be organizing my time. Organize your schedule in a way that works best for you. Block your calendar, get a planner or find another tool that works for you.
Work During Your Down Time
Whether it’s on the weekends, or a break between your classes, using your free time is a good way to catch up and get ahead on assignments. Time can quickly get away from us by spending time on our phones browsing TikTok videos or scrolling through Instagram. Prioritize the work you need to get done before scrolling through your favorite app.
Follow a Schedule
It’s not easy following a schedule, but when balancing classes, work, sorority and a social life, it comes in handy. Start slowly by including one new thing into your schedule at a time, and then add more commitments until you fully get used to your new, and in-depth schedule. Trying to add everything at once will lead you to burnout. Recognize your limits by only agreeing to the things you can truly fit in your schedule.
Make Plans in Advance
Trying to make last-minute plans with friends is difficult when balancing a busy schedule, so making plans in advance is a good way to continue staying social while getting your work done. To this day, I make plans two weeks in advance, allowing me to spend time with friends and have time to work on projects.
Divide Your Work Day by Day
Instead of spending a whole day working on a five-page paper and a twenty-slide presentation, I began spreading my homework hours throughout the week. Balancing five to six classes was hard, so one of the tactics my sisters suggested was creating ‘assignment blocks,’ where I divided my time into a certain assignment. I spent an hour doing work for one class, spent the next hour on another class and so on. If you are taking more than five classes, I highly recommend following this tactic. It requires you to have more days to work on an assignment, but gives you plenty of time to do the assignment thoroughly and not stress about getting the assignments done quickly.
Developing time management skills takes time and commitment. However, when you build a routine and know how to manage your time, it creates many benefits for your college and professional career. Once you graduate, organizing your work, following a schedule and breaking up the work will be essential in your career. If it seems daunting to incorporate all these tips into your life at once, start small and do one step at a time. And of course, tweak them to fit how you work best.