Today, I'd like to talk about time management. Life can be pretty insane, if you're not careful -- actually, even if you are careful, it can still be insane. But, with these few helpful tips, you may be able to sort through the chaos and still find time to do everything that you need and want to.
1. Create a master schedule.
Now, this may be easier for some and more difficult for others, but it's an excellent way to organize your life. There are three things you can do to create a near-perfect master schedule.
- Make a four-year plan (for classes). This will keep you on track, and it's often good to look at the big picture. It's especially nice to cross things off your list when you've finished a semester - you feel accomplished!
- Keep a monthly calendar on your wall, in a planner, or online (I prefer Google Calendar). I do this for all of my normal weekly things, plus any meetings, auditions, events, and anything else I have. I also take advantage of class syllabi - I can see my homework for the month and know when my exams and large papers are due! It's an awful feeling when you forget to go to an appointment and have to reschedule, or worse, forget about a test until the night before or morning of.
- Plan your day out - include your normal class/work/rehearsal/practice schedule that you expect each week and don't forget to write down appointments, meetings, and the like. It's especially good to write down when you want to do "flexible" things - this means homework, going to the gym, etc. If something is out of the ordinary (or even in the ordinary), I like to use reminders on my phone to keep me on track. Scheduling everything out, although tedious, can help you from getting overwhelmed, and best of all, you know when you can actually go spend time with friends or relax.
2. Try to get a good night's sleep...every night.
I know how hard it is to stay on track and get homework done early. However, a healthy sleep pattern will make you feel better physically and mentally, can help reduce stress, and will make you a happier person! (As a note, all-nighters are a really bad idea. If you have a big assignment that you put off, don't skip it. But a couple hours of sleep is better than nothing.)
3. Don't put too much on your plate, or, learn how to say no!
As a theatre major with many opportunities to join new projects and take on new responsibilities, I know how hard this is. However, if you over-commit yourself, it's very easy to fall apart. You start to get double-booked, your academics can slip, sleep gets put to the wayside, and suddenly there's no free time to relax. I know it sounds fun to do everything, but you have to decide: is it worth it to you?
4. Take a little time for yourself.
Every single day, take at least thirty minutes to relax. If you have more time, enjoy it. If you feel like you have no time, trust me - you have time for at least a little bit of fun. Take a study break and watch an episode of your favorite Netflix show or chat with friends. If you have even more time, take a little more time for yourself! Go spend quality time with friends, go into Burlington, and enjoy life. College only lasts four years - make the most of it (but do your work too!).
5. De-stress in healthy ways.
No matter how hard you try not to, you're probably going to get stressed out at some point. Worst case scenario: I've been there - you have three papers to write, an exam to study for, a two-hour practice to attend, and all you want to do is nap. That's okay! Take a nap...but set an alarm. Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take everything on. However, if you follow steps one and three, hopefully you won't end up this stressed! Dealing with manageable amounts of stress, like a difficult paper or test anxiety, can be a little bit easier! Get some fresh air and take a walk. If you need it, go for a run or hit the gym! Listen to your favorite music. Meditate and use deep-breathing techniques. No matter what you do, try not to get overwhelmed and give up on everything. I have faith in you - you can do it!
If you consider all of these tips, you can do just about everything and not go too crazy!
Finally, I would like to leave you with the incredibly wise words of April Ludgate:
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