One of the greatest challenges of any college experience is managing your time well.
You’ll encounter all sorts of new events, experiences, and fun things to do. But you’ll also have to go to class, write papers, and try to get a decent night of sleep.
How can you balance all these things and still prioritize your relationship with God, too?
You may feel doomed by this question, but do not fret! You can overcome this challenge by sharpening your time management skills, and we’ve got some tips for how to do just that!
- Discipline, discipline, discipline
Discipline is training yourself to do something in a controlled way, and it becomes very important while in college.
Why do I say that?
Well, let me be straight with you: you’re never going to want to do homework. It’s just not fun. You already know this from High School, but it gets even gnarlier in college. And even when you don’t like it, you still have to get it done.
That’s where discipline comes in.
Some people will try to tell you very specific rules to follow when it comes to this, but honestly, you’re going to have to find what works best for you. Some people thrive in the early mornings and can get their homework done before the sun comes up! Others prefer a mid-afternoon nap before crushing it in the evening.
However you decide to do your work, just make sure it gets done in an organized, discipline fashion. Don’t hop between early mornings and late nights or just cram before the midterms. Find a dedicated time and space and keep yourself disciplined. You’ll be much happier in the long run.
- Prioritize Your Time
Another great way to manage your time in college is to prioritize your tasks. When you’ve got one paper due in three weeks and an exam tomorrow, you can comfortably set aside your research for the night while you study for that test.
But what happens when the priorities aren’t that obvious? What about when all your friends are going out and you’re behind on your bible reading but you also have a big project due in two days?
Prioritizing your time can help with this. Not everything can be at the top, and you’ve got to do the hard work yourself of listing what’s most important to you. Your relationship with God should always be number one, but things may fluctuate besides that.
While grades and coursework should regularly sit near the top, you might occasionally push a smaller assignment beside to counsel a hurting friend or to take care of yourself. These things are okay every once in a while as long as you understand the temporary shift of priorities. You can put things back in order once the problem is solved.
- Schedule Your Downtime
Scheduled enjoyment feels like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?
Well, to tell you the truth, growing up usually includes a decrease in spontaneous hangouts and an increased amount of “let me check my calendar.”
This will feel strange, but it’s not bad at all. It just means you have to be more intentional with your fun time.
Scheduling your downtime also ensures that you don’t feel overwhelmed when you’re just hanging out. You can push your work aside for a little bit because you’ve built downtime into your schedule.
- Schedule Procrastination
I once heard a prominent Christian author talk about his typical writing day, and what he said changed the way I schedule my time.
He said that he schedules time for procrastination. If he knows he has four hours of work to do, he sets aside six in the day. This allowed him to wander down an occasional youtube rabbit trail or get lost on social media without really throwing off his time that much.
The trick here is making sure that you’re disciplined enough to return from the procrastination once you start. If you feel that you’d be too tempted to wander endlessly then this one may not be for you. But for those who can remain disciplined enough to get back on track after a few minutes, this can be a great time management tactic.
- Document Things
Some people swear by their physical planners, others use google calendar. Some use the notes app on their phone. It really doesn’t matter what you use as long as you’re keeping track of what you have to get done.
Play with different tools or apps to see which ones you like best. If nothing satisfies you like physically striking a line through a written to-do item, a digital calendar may not be best for you. And the same thing is true on the other end. Love tech? Don’t waste money on a fancy planner you’re never going to use. Find the method of documentation that works for you and stick with it.
- Give Yourself Grace
Time management takes practice, and you’re not going to get the hang of it overnight. Just keep working at it,, The good news is that you can take these time management skills into the workforce after college, too. You’ll always have things to balance and time to manage.
If you’re like most college students, you’ll probably start strong in the first week, slack off in the middle, and pay the price at the end. That’s okay. Learn from your mistakes and try better next semester.
Do you have any other time management tips we missed? Leave them in the comments!