“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” ~ Jim Rohn
School, homework, sports, activities, a job or internship–it’s a lot to juggle. Can you fit it all in and still have time for fun (and sleep)? The answer is YES! With some planning and effective time management, you can have a productive and stress-free school year. Here are 10 things you can do to gain control of your time—and your life.
- Make a List Make a list of everything you have to do each day and each week. Put a star next to items you HAVE to do (those are your priorities). Next, prioritize. Put the most difficult tasks or those you dislike at the top of your list. Get them over with early. Then you’ll have easier/more pleasant tasks to look forward to.
- Find an Organizing Tool
Use a phone app, notebook, planner, computer program, or whatever works best for you.
- Make Study Time Effective
What is the best time of day for you to study? Early morning? Night? Right after school? Figure out the best time for you and make it part of your schedule (see #4). Find a study space that works for you. Start homework within 5 minutes of sitting down. Use the internet only for study-related searches. Don’t keep social media tabs open. Put your phone and notifications on silent to keep from getting distracted.
- Make a Schedule
Plan your week. First, schedule all fixed appointments such as school, sports, practices, rehearsals, tutoring, and work. Next, plan your sleep! Try schedule at least 8 hours of sleep. Next plan for meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). With the remainder of time, plan time to study and any other activity. How does it look? If you have free time left over – take advantage of it and relax!
- Stay focused
Whatever the task, stay in the moment and focus on completing it. If you get distracted or can’t concentrate, find out why. Are others distracting you? Are you having a hard time understanding or finishing something? If so, can you solve the problem immediately? If you can’t seem to make any progress, move onto another item on your list. Revisit the problematic task later.
- Practice saying NO
Don’t over extend yourself. If a friend asks you to go to a movie or needs help with homework, check your schedule. Do you have time? If so, make a plan. If not, say no and try to reschedule for another time.
- Review What’s Next
Set aside a few minutes each day (either morning or the night before) to review what you have going on the next day. Reschedule based on any changes or unexpected activities. Also, remember to take time on the weekend to plan the next week.
- Take Care of Your Body
Get enough sleep. Eat meals and healthful snacks for energy. Watch your caffeine intake. Remember to hydrate!
Try to get in some physical activity – especially to break up long periods of studying or sitting. Take a brisk walk; clear your mind (remember to pad this 15 minutes into your study slot ahead of time)
- Monitor Yourself
Review your progress each week to see what works and what doesn’t. Have you scheduled enough time for everything? Did you end up little or no free time? Think about what you can change. Maybe you need to drop some work hours or a school activity. Have extra time on your hands? Feed your soul and spend some time doing something you love!