Green and Gold: Time Management

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“By Jocelyn Anderson & Megan Logan”

Q: What is the best way to manage time? How do you balance classes, homework, social events, personal time, etc.?

 

Green Says:

I’ll be the first to admit that before college I never had to worry about managing my time. I had a set schedule all four years of high school, and even into my freshman year of college, I didn’t really change anything. Now it’s a whole different story.

I cannot stress this enough, get a planner! Everyone uses their planner differently so it is so important to find out what works best for you. I know there are people who write Every. Single. Thing. Down. Personally, I’ve found that color-coding helps me know what is going on in my life. For example, I have my exam days highlighted in purple, job stuff highlighted in blue, and personal reminders in green. This way, I can look at any given day in my planner and know the general idea of what’s going on that day based on what colors I see.

If you’re someone who will forget to write stuff down in a paper planner, get an app for your phone. This year I got the Google Calendar app and, honestly, it’s a lifesaver. I have all of my classes, campus events, work shifts, literally everything programmed into the app. My favorite thing about this tactic is that you can select what is shown on your calendar at any given time. I usually have the “RMC Master Calendar” hidden until I need to look at it; this way, it doesn’t clutter up my screen all the time. If you use an app to manage your time, it also lessens the chance of you not knowing if you are free to do something because your schedule will be in your pocket.

I think the last thing I’d like to emphasize is to know when to say no. There are some students who want to make sure they have the ‘college experience,’ and, in doing so, they overload themselves and end up being spread thin. Make sure that you’re setting aside time to have to yourself, even if that is just sitting on your couch watching your favorite show. Having designated ‘me time’ will help prevent burnout in the long run.

Good luck this year!

 

Gold Says:

This is a great question, especially for first-year students. Finding a balance between all of those things can seem really daunting at first, but once you find a routine that you like, it’s easy to follow through with it.

The biggest thing that helped me when I first started college was a practice called time blocking. This really helped me during finals week especially. Essentially, you write your days out in hour increments. Then you “block out” the times you’re busy. So block when you’re going to wake up, eat your meals, and go to classes. Once you have those solidified, then you can see what hours you have free throughout the day. You can then fill the rest of those hour times with other things that you need or like to do (like work, practice, homework, going to the movies, a self-care night, and whatever else you’re interested in). When you see your week scheduled out by the hour, it helps you find a balance between working hard and mental breaks. You can really make this your own and use colors (i.e green for class, red for mealtimes, blue for homework, purple for personal time, etc.). I find a spreadsheet works the best for creating a time blocking schedule, or you can find some online as well. Once you time block for a while, you kind of get used to creating one mentally in your head. If you like creating a physical copy, however, then definitely keep using it.

The last thing I want to say is to not forget to take care of yourself. I know that life is busy and chaotic, but remember that your health (both mental and physical) should be your number one priority. Just like people in airplanes put their oxygen mask on before helping others put theirs on, you need to serve yourself before you can help serve others.

 

I’ll leave you with a quick time blocking example for a visual.

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
7:00am Wake Up Wake Up Wake Up Wake Up Wake Up
8:00am Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
9:00am Self-Care Class Self-Care Class Self-Care
10:00am Class Homework Class Homework Homework

 

I hope this helps answer your question.

Best of luck this year!

 

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