The Half Hour Day of a College Student
Whether you are starting college, going to your first university, or continuing your education, making time is difficult. When you start to plan out your semester, there are a few things to keep in mind and one of those is time management.
Humans don't have a very long attention span, so making time for everything is essential. Here are some tips to get you started as we head into the later half of the semester.
1. Buy a Planner
And use it! There are a lot of different kinds of planners out there, but the kind I recommend are the spiral bound ones with the days of the week on each page. A wall calendar won't cut it for some and there's just not enough room to write. This planner needs to be small enough for you to carry with you, but large enough for you to write in.
2. Use the Planner
Write everything in it. Carry it with you everywhere. When someone makes an appointment with you (even a hang out night!) write it in the calendar. I tend to highlight due-dates, things I have to do outside of school (like subbing at a fitness center or meeting someone for tutoring), and projects. Write in it.
And always check it. If someone asks you to do something that is not work or class, check your planner! Don't commit and then try to bail out later. That's just rude!
3. Decide on a "Planning Day"
Every Sunday, I clean my room, do my laundry, and plan my week out. I write down my class names and then what work I intend to get done on a certain day. If I have 50 pages of reading to get done by Friday's class, I give myself a set amount of pages for each day to read so I'm not overwhelmed. I do this for every class and on every day.
4. The 30-minute Timer
Everything I do, I do in 30-minute increments. Planning--I set a 30 minute timer and plan my week. Doing those things I planned? I give myself 30 minutes to do each class's work. I may not get it all done in 30 minutes so I say, "I have two 30-minute increments to finish A and B" and I set the timer and go. Once the first thirty minutes are done, I get up, do something else for a few minutes (run around to get my blood flowing, eat a snack, or clear away some papers) then sit back down and set that 30-minute timer again.
5. Get Rid of Distractions
Like most college goers my age, I have a hard time letting go of social media. I do not have internet on my phone so I'm not connected 24/7 to my Twitter page and Facebook. But I work at my computer. I can't disconnect the internet because I need to look information up often. So what to do?
I have a Mac so I downloaded an app that will block pages on my "Black List" for a set amount of time. Yes, you guessed it! 30 minutes at time. Turn on some classical music and go! I don't use music with lyrics as I find it distracting. Sometimes, I just put on some ambient sounds and wear headphones. These help drown outside noises down and keep my concentrated.
Why Time Myself?
When you say you only have 30 minutes to get something accomplished, you tend to work faster. I also find that with my distractions gone, I can focus more easily. And if you plan out every half-hour of your day, you will find some time. I found I can write several hundred words in half an hour, so my short stories are coming out faster. I can also see where I'm spending my time. If I know that one class is taking more time than another, I'll allot more time for it throughout my 30-minute day.
Buy a calendar and pick a planning day. Write everything in it. Plan out everything you want to do in a day, even chores. Get rid of your distractions in the most viable way possible. Once they're gone, you'll feel free. When you plan out your 30 minutes, you'll find time and realize you can get more done than you thought.