As a college student, you will often experience an overwhelming number of things you need to do, such as assignments, social time with friends, and taking care of yourself. You will often find that you are juggling too many things at once or have too much to do in a short period of time. Students that juggle too many responsibilities at once can end up being overwhelmed or experiencing burnout. To avoid that, this guide will provide you with tips on how to improve your time management skills so that you have control over the stressful semesters college students have.

Calendars and weekly to-do lists:

Using a calendar to plan ahead is a crucial part of time management. Before each semester it is smart to create a broad overview of all your assignments and commitments for the upcoming semester. You can do this in a digital or physical calendar. Putting it all down in one place makes it easier to stay on top of things because it will show you what weeks are heavy with work and which weeks you have more flexibility. An additional tip can be to color-code your calendar by giving the different categories a different color e.g. red for exams, blue for deadlines, and yellow for quizzes. You can also do so by class!

A calendar gives you an overview of the whole semester. Attacking each week with your own weekly planner/to-do list can help to plan out when to do what so you do not end up having too much to do at once. Google Calendar is a great digital tool to use for planning out assignments!

Photo Credits @ Sara Kilen//A paper planner with a student’s schedule

Work on one project at a time:

Working on multiple projects at a time can give you the overwhelming feeling that you will never finish anything and will not be able to cross it off the checklist. Attacking one project at the planned time will help you concentrate on that specific project. If a task seems daunting, try using the Pomodoro Method. This allows you to break up your work into smaller increments of time while having built-in breaks. 

Screenshot Adopted from Pomofocus//a screenshot of a Pomodor timer from www.pomofocus.io

Schedule your breaks:

Planning out your study breaks is crucial to not get overwhelmed and burned out. We have all most likely experienced trying to study while being tired. It is not the most productive study session. Giving your brain a break by fueling up with food, hydrating, and giving yourself a break from screens can be what you need to regain your energy and stay productive.

Screenshot Adopted from Google Calendar//An example of a student’s week planned on Google Calendar

Set your own deadlines:

Setting your own deadlines on assignments before it is due can be the key to staying on top of your work. Instead of having to pull an all-nighter or catch up with work, you can stay ahead of deadlines. Planning ahead and setting your own deadlines gives you the time to go through the processes of finalizing your work and making revisions. This ensures what you turn in is the best product you are able to. You have probably heard the phrase: “Writing is a process.” To be able to write your best, you have to give yourself the time you need to make drafts, review and finalize your piece. Setting deadlines is a great way to ensure you have time to go about this. 

Screenshot Adopted from Notion//A student’s week planned using Notion

While everyone has to figure out what works best for them, we hope these tips give you an idea of where to start!