Balance in your college life can seem near impossible, but experimenting with one, or all, of these strategies, can help you to establish and maintain work, school, and social life.
1. Use An Agenda.
Breaking It Down~ Though it may seem obvious, using a planner or agenda is one of the most natural things you can do to help yourself establish and keep a balanced college lifestyle. Every morning when you wake up, write out a checklist of your goals for the day. What must get done, and at what time are you going to do it? You can go all in and include day-to-day tasks such as eating, or you can focus on more significant responsibilities, such as places you need to be, or work you need to get done. It goes without saying that the more detailed your plan, the less room you allow yourself for slacking. As you go through your day, check off the tasks and responsibilities you have finished; this will help you to feel accomplished. What college student doesn’t want that feeling?!
Breaking It Down~ As an extension to planning, you will want to prioritize what is important to you. If you know, you have an assignment due at the end of the week, and another assignment due at the end of the month, you should make it your priority to first do the assignment due at the end of the week. This works the same for your everyday tasks and responsibilities. Similarly to planning, you can prioritize by writing a list of what is important to you. Is it important that you carve out time to work out? Spend time with your family? Allocate time to your hobby? Write it down in your agenda, and prioritize it in your daily life. Tasks that require deep focus should be done in the morning, when you have peak energy, while tasks that need less attention and more creativity should be prioritized for later in the day. If you want to learn even more about optimal times to do certain types of tasks, check out this article from the Wall Street Journal, The Peak Time for Everything.
3. Work Ahead.
Breaking It Down~ Maybe this seems obvious, but even so, working ahead is not often something college students do. If you are looking to add balance and subtract stress, this is a great strategy to put into place. You can work ahead, first, by studying the course calendar given to you by your professor or posted on your class site. Highlight when assignments, presentations, or readings are due, and write these dates in your planner or agenda. Assignments that carry more weight, such as large projects, essays, or presentations are especially important to work ahead on, as these are what takes more time and energy. Give yourself at least a few weeks in advance to begin, so that you can feel confident about your work when it comes time to turn it in. Keep in mind though, that working ahead on everything might sound like a good idea, but when it comes to smaller class readings that require a discussion or written response, it is best to do these things closer to the due date (at least within the same week) because you will want the assignment to be fresh in your mind.
4. Get Enough Sleep.
Breaking It Down~ Prioritize your sleep! This again may seem obvious, but rest is one of the single most important things we do each night to ensure that we have better, and more productive days. The easiest way to make sure you are getting quality sleep is to set a time that you can really go to bed and wake up so that you get the recommended 7-9 hours every night. When you fail to allow yourself this crucial time to reboot, you also fail to operate at your full human potential. To supplement good sleep, try to put your phone down at least 30 minutes before, as the blue light hinders your ability to sleep. You can read more about phone light and sleep here.
Breaking It Down~ Last, but definitely not least is self-care. Many of us have preconceived judgments about what self-care is, thanks to magazines and online articles, but self-care doesn’t have to mean spending hours in the bathroom pampering yourself. Frankly, very few of us have time for that. Self-care can merely mean allotting time to shower every day, or even just allowing yourself to say no to things that will leave you overwhelmed. Your self-care routine can be simple, or it can be more intricate, it’s all up to you!
The suggestions above are none other than pieces to a balanced college life that you can experiment with. The most important thing is that you find what works for you. No one can give you a guidebook to your life because no one knows it as you do. Happy balancing!