How to Get Better at Planning in College

Written by Brian Wallace

College can be a stressful time when your schedule is packed with studying, doing homework, going to classes, and taking the time to relax. It can sometimes seem like you do not have enough hours in the day to do everything you want to. Luckily, there are a few ways you can get better at planning so you can get everything done that you need to.

Don’t Take on More Than You Can Commit to

It is easy to overcommit in college because there are so many opportunities to join social clubs, take part in sports, and even work. While these things can be beneficial and give you good experience, taking part in too many of them can wreak havoc on your schedule. Pick one or two things to focus on outside of your academics. Many students work during their college years to help cover the costs of their education. While part-time work could make it easier to pay for the things you need, it can also make it harder to balance other things, like a social life or academics. Another option to cover the costs of school is by getting a student loan. It could mean you don’t have to work, or that you can work fewer hours.

Prioritize Your Work

Sometimes despite your best time management skills you really don’t have enough time to do all the things you need to in a day. When this happens, spend a few precious minutes evaluating everything you must do and making decisions about what is more important. A paper due by the end of the day is likely more pressing than a larger project where you still have a few more weeks. If you have simple and more complex assignments that both need to get done, try to get the simpler things out of the way first before moving on to something that requires you to focus more. It still helps you check stuff off your to-do list, and it also keeps you from getting too bogged down in longer projects.

Make Time for Yourself

There are ways GenZ is reshaping the college years and self-care is at the helm of that change. Managing your time is about more than being able to hit your deadlines. It also means you can put your physical and mental health first. Consistently schedule time for yourself to keep your life and mental health balanced. Scheduling time for yourself also gives you something fun to look forward to when it feels like the assignments will never stop coming. Making time for yourself can take many shapes and forms, like spending time with friends, taking a walk, sleeping in, taking a nap, or even working on a hobby in your dorm. Giving yourself the freedom to do something you enjoy, even when there are deadlines, can give you peace of mind and help you enjoy the college experience.

Use a Calendar

Don’t let papers or big projects surprise you a few days before they are due. Instead, create a calendar with all your exams, deadlines, and social events so you have everything in one place. Even if your school’s system has a calendar with some of your assignments, not every professor will use it, and it is helpful to have all your time commitments in one place, so you don’t accidentally double-book yourself. You can use an app or if you use a paper one, try to keep it in a small enough book or folder so you can carry it with you and consult it and add to it as necessary. You can also create a digital one so you can see it on your phone or computer and always have it with you. Check it every morning so you will be able to stay on top of events and deadlines. Some calendars can even integrate with your email or other tools.