It can be difficult getting back into the routine of handling classes, homework, socializing and sometimes work. If you find yourself easily getting stressed about balancing school and life, I have some ways that work for me to implement into your busy schedule.
On the days that I feel the most productive and busy, I also feel the best. There’s nothing better than crossing items off a to-do list or coming home after a long day knowing you accomplished a lot of productive tasks. I have put together this list of my top tips for getting the most out of my day and being productive:
1. Establish a reasonable sleep schedule. We all love our sleep, especially after a long night of studying or binge watching Netflix but, I find it helpful to wake up earlier than usual to give myself enough time to fully wake up and start my day. When I do sleep in until noon, I end up feeling groggy and like half of my day is already over. Giving myself an hour or 2 before class or whatever I might be doing that day is a key part in starting my day off right. Do what works best for you!
2. Make a to-do list. I like making lists in the morning because it helps me organize what needs to get done for the day. I don’t make this to-do list very long, but they are simple tasks like homework or errands that need to be accomplished.
3. Have a solid morning routine. Having a routine that you do every day can help set up your day in a good way. I like to turn on some music, drink tea or coffee and have breakfast with my roommates. On the days I don’t have morning classes, I like to get to the gym as early as possible which helps elevate my mood and give me energy for the day.
4. Use a planner. Without my planner, I would be lost. This can either be an online planner such as google calendar, outlook calendar, or an app or a physical planner that you write in. I personally like the planners that I can write in myself. This helps me remember meetings I have, things I have to do, assignments and tests, etc.
5. Take breaks when you need them. Sitting down with a cup of coffee and my headphones in for hours can be a very effective way to get a lot of things done but it’s also important to take breaks because your mind needs it. I used to feel guilty about taking homework or study breaks when I knew I hadn’t finished a task completely but it’s important to give yourself a break after a lot of hard work.
6. Set timers. When I have no motivation to work on homework but I know I really need to get something done, I set a timer on my phone anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours and I just do that task until the timer goes off. This is an effective way for me to study because it helps me to stay focused.
7. Get exercise. Setting aside some time to go to the gym, take a walk or run around the lake, bike to a friend’s house, walk around town or campus, hike, etc. is key for feeling good about myself and feeling heathy. Sitting in classes all day can really put a strain on the body so it’s important to get in some kind of movement whether it be an intense workout or something leisurely.
8. Prioritize tasks. Get the hard things out of the way first and then move on to the smaller or easier tasks in your planner. When I have a long to-do list for homework, readings and studying, I make it a priority to get the things done that are due first.
9. Don’t skip out on self-care. Make time in your day to do come things that benefit you such as drinking enough water, buying yourself iced coffee, eating well, taking enough breaks to relax, saying “no” to some things that won’t fit into your schedule. Feeling productive and busy and feeling stressed and overwhelmed are two completely different things.
There are many more tips that work for different people but these are just a few of the ones I have used during my time here at WSU and they have helped me a lot.
When it comes to doing well in college and getting the most out of your day, these tips are small things you can implement into a routine to make your day a little more productive!