“I am feeling very overwhelmed by all of the things going on. How can I manage my time better and keep up with my classes?”
We are living through quite a busy time, aren’t we? I think that now more than ever our schedules are fully packed as students. Most of us are involved in extracurricular activities that are existing in different ways than we expected they would. We may be working. We may not have anything else going on but classes and that in and of itself is stressful. Regardless of the source of your stress, it is reasonable to expect that things are just hard right now.
I think the basis of time-management lies at prioritizing. If you’re not able to prioritize, it is that much more difficult to time-manage. Prioritizing, for me personally, is examining what needs to be done as opposed to what I want to get done. So I start with things I am obligated to do such as my job, my classes, and homework. Then I move into the things that I want to do such as an event for my organization, getting a headstart on projects, or applying to grad schools. I like lists so making masterlists of all things I have to do helps me, but you don’t have to.
Next, I plug it all into a planner or wall calendar, again starting with the things I need to do first or events I have to plan around. I like to color-coordinate this so at a quick glance when I’m planning my days I’m able to see what I have to plan around or what I can work through if I really need to.
Finally, I use post-it notes to make to-do lists based on what’s going on that day. The homework or studying that is due that day or the next day is listed first in the order of when I have that class. Then I like to take note of the events that day and build any extra work around that. If I have time after my “required” homework and before my event, I plug in any extra work I want to get done. Depending on when the event ends, I may schedule some homework or studying after. Somehow, I’m able to make this list every day during class or right when I get home. I like doing it daily so I feel like I have a solid game plan.
The thing is that, personally, I like to have my free time at night. But I’d be willing to give up that free time if it means I can get ahead and have a whole day of free time and self-care the next day. So really the planning all depends on how much free time you like to have and when you like to have it.
All in all, the best way to manage your time better is to start with knowing what you need to stay alert and healthy. How much free time do you need? When do you like to have your free time? From there, prioritize what you have going on based on what is required of you and when it’s required. Finally, try to build yourself a list of things to do that day without worrying about the things happening the next few days because that is when it could get overwhelming.
There’s no use in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet and there’s nothing productive in spending time being overwhelmed about everything you have to do rather than actually getting things done. Take it one day at a time, one assignment at a time, and one event at a time. It’s important to remember that it’s about getting things done the best way for you, not whether you can do it. We’re all going to get through it, we just have to find a way that works best for us.