Your time in college is likely to be full of opportunity and wonder. It is often your first take on a completely independent life outside the family home. A seemingly endless stream of interesting people flows all around you. You are bombarded with new information – from classes, extracurricular activities, and social gatherings.
When paired with the high academic demands of a college schedule, this amount of stimuli can quickly become overwhelming. It is no wonder that over half of college students admit they have major problems getting their day organised. This is where our curated list of the best time management tips for college students can help you make sense of the daily chaos and enjoy your college experience to the fullest.
1. Get used to writing everything down
In today’s digital world, the touchscreen is rapidly replacing the notepad, but trust us: Get yourself a trusty organiser and a pen! This is one of the most powerful time management tips for college students, and a worthy number one on our list. There are many good reasons to put pen to paper, but the most crucial for you is the immediacy and freedom of that action. Writing down important assignments, deadlines, and milestones take the guesswork out of managing your schedule. Not to mention that crossing out completed tasks comes with its own very special sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that will give you a boost to move on to the next challenge with gusto.
2. Turn your phone into a productivity machine
There are few time management tips for college students more significant than this one: Make smart use of your smartphone! Statistics on students’ phone usage paint a predictable picture of extensive use, both inside and outside the classroom, and overwhelmingly during so-called ‘idle times’. Your first task, therefore, is to limit the time you spend ‘idling’ on your phone. This means limiting your usage of various social media apps – or downright uninstalling them from your phone. If you choose to keep them, unfollow everyone except the people who are truly not expendable, not because you are addicted to their status updates but because they bring real value into your everyday life.
Once you have eliminated the distractions, you can use your phone to support your productivity routine: Set up reminders, transfer important dates into its calendar, and use the timer to keep your daily plan on track.
Want to improve productivity and student experience across campus? Check out the VisiPoint Campus Pack!
3. Design a steady work schedule and stick to it
Speaking of ‘productivity routine’, one of the best ways to stay on track during the distracting and varied college days is to develop a typical schedule that works for you and to stick to it. Do so early into the semester in order to get into the groove quickly. Of course, small adjustments when circumstances demand them are allowed and indeed welcome: Humans thrive on variety and new experiences. Allow yourself breaths of fresh air, but prioritise your tasks wisely at all times.
If you feel the proverbial FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) rear its ugly head, remind yourself that this is all temporary and that you are working hard now to build the life you want to have tomorrow. Creating a routine might not seem attractive to you as an open-minded young person, but it deserves its place on the top-3 list of time management tips for college students because it definitely delivers results.
4. Work out and get out more
As part of your routine, you should set aside some time away from the books, the computer. Even if you are not a sporty type, make it a point to take regular walks around campus or, better yet, somewhere else entirely. This might not be among the time management tips for college students you might be expecting, but it is one of the cornerstones of a balanced college schedule. Regular exercise has a range of physical benefits, but it is also an important pressure valve, through which you can release pent up stress and other negative emotions that tend to accumulate during intensely busy times. In addition, research has shown that regular physical activity can improve memory, focus, and mental acuity.
5. Keep your home and your study space tidy
Clutter is one of the greatest enemies of healthy and organised college life. Regardless of what habits you have built and the notion of ‘creative clutter’ notwithstanding, there are many documented benefits to having a tidy and comfortable working space. It lowers the number of possible distractions to the bare minimum, and it creates a visual framework for the task you are about to tackle. It literally allows you to ‘keep your eyes on the prize’. To make study materials easily accessible, devise a simple filing system where you keep the literature for each class in its pre-defined space on a shelf or in a drawer to reduce the time you spend looking for things.
6. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
This sounds a little esoteric, but it is yet another one of the essential time management tips for college students you should implement in your daily routine. Like we said earlier, college time is full of new experiences, opportunities, and challenges. It is easy to get overwhelmed and to feel like you are not doing enough or like you are underperforming. To keep those negative emotions at bay, find your place of inner strength, build and maintain a strong network of friends and family, on whom you can fall back in times of crisis, and cultivate a positive, nurturing self-image.
7. Make the most of your college campus and surroundings
We spoke of technology mainly as a source of distraction, but it can also help you get to know your campus better, plan each day more efficiently, and give a you a sense of enjoyment and belonging which would otherwise remain elusive. Explore the many exciting opportunities visitor management systems such as VisiPoint have to offer and harness the power of this technological innovation to make your college time even better!