Hope you all are dominating Monday so far. I know I am. I’m still knocking out a lot of errands applying what I learned from James Waters (see my previous post), and the to-do list hasn’t gotten any shorter. This is when I start to apply some of my “hacks” that I learned from my parents growing up.
My dad always told me about the “Yellow Pad”, where he always jots down his to-do list for the day or the week. My mom explained to me that for me to succeed in all aspects of life, I will have to learn balance. I still am learning and trying to balance everything in life on a daily basis. So in this post, I am showing you how to prioritize and balance things out in college.
Always write down what you need to do for today and for the rest of the week.
It’s imperative that we put our thoughts to paper, because sometimes we do forget things, and these things can be important (sometimes could cost us a good grade). This also gives us a little more of a sense of purpose, and helps us organize our days easier. I’m big on this, because I’m a creature of routine, and I find ways to move my errands into my daily routine. I would wake up at the same time daily, go to breakfast around the same time, then spend a certain amount of time in the library or behind my laptop working on assignments before classes begin. So, incorporate your homework times, errands in between your daily “staples” (classes, practice, or meetings), to maximize your productivity. When you list the things you need to do for the week, you can separate the tasks into different time slots of your weekly schedule. It’ll look a lot easier when your tasks are spread out instead of doing them all in one sitting.
The assignments that are due in the next two days are the most important.
This semester, I’ve finally been able to do this religiously. Partly due to the extra two-three hours I have daily (because I’m not playing college ball anymore), I’ve managed to squeeze in more homework time. I try to hand in my homework and papers a day or two before, this allows me to move forward onto the next thing a little faster. This tends to give me an edge towards the end of the week, I get to relax a little more on weekends.
The easy stuff first.
Always do the easy stuff first, especially in the classes you are doing well. You are more often than not “fresh” before you start the hard assignments or projects, so I highly recommend that you knock all the easy things out early. Then give yourself a little break, or a cat nap before you take the difficult assignments on. For example, I’d do my discussion posts online for my Web Design class, email my group members for my Advertising project, go to classes, post a blog and then give myself a break before doing my Senior Paper. By the time I start my paper, I’ve already checked 4 things off my list, definitely better than being exhausted after my paper and seeing four more boxes to check off.
Nap, nap, nap.
If you saw my bio on the NTID Ambassadors’ site, my love for sleeping is very evident. I’m a big fan of sleeping, because it has a direct correlation with my academic and athletic performance. Try to get a cat nap (20-30 minutes) here and there. I tend to take two naps a day, one between my homework hour and classes, and then another after classes, and before my work out. For some reason, I find myself zonking out on couches for naps rather than my own bed. This is largely due to keeping the nap times shorter. You wouldn’t take super long naps on a couch before your back starts to get stiff (I guess I’m getting old). This will help you think a little straighter and clearer, which helps you stay on top of school work a little easier.
So, to effectively balance things, you will have to make some sacrifices on a daily basis. You might have to sleep a little less one day for more schoolwork to be done. You might have to do a little more homework one day so you can sleep more the day after, or to hang with friends and such. Sometimes it’s friends, sports, or school. You will know. So listen to your gut and decide what’s important that day, then seize the day.