Now that classes are back in session, you might be overwhelmed with your hectic schedule. Trying to balance schoolwork, a job, a social life, RSO’s, and getting enough sleep are both physically and mentally draining. With all these commitments, you’re probably stressed to the max and feel like you have so much with so little time to complete them. Here’s a few tips to keep you destressed and organized!
1. Invest in a Student Planner
A student planner is a lifesaver. Take it with you everywhere! Once you have your syllabi, write down all the important dates such as exams and project deadlines. While there are many great paper planners, if you hate writing things down, there are many planner apps that would suit your needs. Some really great companies that do really nice planners are: Passion Planner, Webster’s Pages, and Plum Paper Planner. You can even get a free one from Mason’s Student Involvement!
2. Use Your Phone or Tablet
If you find that you write things down but never look at them again, use your technological devices to keep yourself organized. Google Calendar is a great resource because it syncs with your phone calendar. On Trello, you can create your own customized board. For me, I organize the board into Tasks, In Progress, and Complete. Some great apps that a lot of people use are myHomework and Pocket Schedule.
3. Create a weekly schedule
As a student, you’re really busy and might feel that you have way too much going on. A great way to make sure you have enough time to complete all your tasks is by scheduling your week. Sit down for a few minutes and designate time for certain activities. Start by blocking off class and work time. Then add in any meetings and RSO related events. Don’t forget about the time it takes to get to place to place when blocking out time. Here’s a few things to block time off for in your schedule: working out, laundry, and grocery shopping. Block off time to study so you don’t cram later on closer to test time.
4. Schedule Study Time
Study time is crucial! Don’t wait until the week of to study for an exam. If you feel that you have a hard time concentrating, try the Pomodoro Method. The idea of it is very straightforward: whenever you have too much too do or a large task, break down the work into intervals that contain short breaks in between. Each work time interval is 25 minutes and each short break is 5 minutes. For every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break which is generally 15-30 minutes.
5. Make to do lists
Make a daily to do list and star the top three tasks you need to complete each day. Crossing off each task not only makes you feel better, it also helps you visualize the work and not forget about getting it done
6. Follow the 8/8/8 Rule
The 8/8/8 Rule is essentially breaking your day down to 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play, and 8 hours of sleep. This allows you to balance academic productivity while still managing to have a social life and getting enough sleep
7. Organize your workspace
Decide on a place you want to study. Your study space should be quiet and clean so you won’t get distracted. Make sure to grab all the potential things you need and put them on your desk so you won’t have to go searching for them later. Studying at the same location helps you stay focused. When you study in the same spot it helps you get into the mindset and helps you stay more concentrated.
8. Get Ready the Night Before
Pack your backpack the night before so you don’t have to run around trying to find everything you need for the day the next morning. It’s pretty much the worst thing when you’re halfway to your destination only to realize you forgot something super important.
9. Don’t over organize!
You may think that organizing will make you more productive, but you might be over organizing to procrastinate! So sometimes it’s just best to just dive right into the work!
10. Take some time to yourself
While you’re so busy trying to finish all your tasks, don’t forget to take some time to take care of yourself. Spend some time relaxing and doing something you enjoy. Maybe catch up on a book or tv show that you’ve fallen behind on. Don’t forget to treat yourself!