Now that I am in the midst of my fourth semester of college, I have learned that it is very different from high school in many ways. The proximity between places on campus allows much more free time, test dates are less frequent and often announced at the beginning of the semester, and the flexibility of class schedules puts one's time management outside of the classroom almost entirely in his/her hands. Over time, these changes have prompted me to experiment with new and different strategies, and I decided to share a few that I have found to be the most beneficial. I hope they will help you as much as they have helped me!
1. Try out the Miracle Minute!
"Early to bed and early to rise makes a [person] healthy, wealthy and wise."
- Benjamin Franklin
It's a proven fact that those extra ten minutes have no benefits and will do you more harm than good. You may feel groggy in the mornings at first, but you will be grateful for the Miracle Minute in the long run!
2. The Calendar and Reminders apps will change your life.
Why waste your thoughts on trying to remember everything on your agenda when your Smartphone can do it for you? If you often struggle to keep track of important events and deadlines, see if your phone has either of these apps; they will alert you with notifications about crucial to-do list items for a particular time, or reminders about an upcoming test, appointment, or assignment due. If your phone does not already have them, there are plenty of downloadable ones that arguably even more advanced. I highly recommend adding all your class times and locations with repeating alerts, and looking through each syllabus, so you can add notifications for approaching tests and due dates. Click on the picture for more information!
3. Chewing gum is a great remedy for nodding off while you are working.
Not only will it keep you alert, but it will also prevent the urge to snack late at night. Also, associating a unique flavor like one of the above with a particular subject by chewing it as you study will help you remember the material better!
4. To promote timeliness and minimize disruptions, study as nearby as you can to the next place you have to be.
Learning to "camp out" at the nearest convenient place solved so many of my problems.
5. Multi-tasking can be very useful when one of the activities is auto-pilot.
While science shows that simultaneously engaging in two focus-demanding tasks will often just cancel out the effects of the less appealing activity, I definitely recommend multitasking in the sense of putting your clothes are in the washer/dryer while you review your notes or brainstorming possible paper topics as you shower. One cannot argue that this kind of multitasking saves time!
6. Binaural Beats— another useful tool.
If you like listening to white noise or similar sounds while you sleep or study, you will definitely appreciate binaural beats, which are sound waves that literally boost the required neurons for whatever effect you choose! I personally recommend the app Brain Wave, as it not only has sound rhythms to promote sleep or focus but also an extensive variety of other options (as shown in the picture above). It is well-worth the five dollar investment. Believe me.
7. A good rule of thumb: spend your leisure time making memories or creating something that will matter in the long-run.
Seriously, though. Netflix shows and YouTube videos will still be around after you graduate. Don't let time slip away on you.
8. Remember when sleep is crucial.
Try to avoid cramming as much as possible, but when it is unavoidable, remember this:
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep to finish up work is acceptable when all you have to do the next day is turn in a paper, but doing so to prepare for a test or a presentation is virtually useless.
9. Last but not least:
Stop getting hung up on those "would-have-been's" and "if-I-had-just"'s. All you have is now. Embrace it! Think about what you need to accomplish today in order to be in a better place tomorrow. Balance and success come in little steps, so focus only on what you can, cherishing all of the little things and present opportunities.