Daily Scheduling for Full-Time Students
So much to do, so little time! How to plan your days wisely.
Imagine your first days in university: creating the perfect semester timetable, reveling in the thought of having countless hours outside of the classroom (ideal for accomplishing homework and studying, of course), only to find yourself a week into the semester, already missing due dates and drowning in piled up work.
Does this sound like something that could happen to you? If you're concerned that your first weeks in university could go something like this, don't worry! We're here to give you some quick tools so that you can make the most of your semester. With a little bit of careful planning, your hours outside of the classroom can be maximized, and you can balance academics, hobbies and social events without breaking a sweat!
Your first step to becoming a scheduling master should be investing in either a paper or online agenda: there's no need to be fancy! There are great options available to you that don't require a big financial investment (here's a link to an awesome, free online tool!). Make sure your planner has enough space to write daily to-do lists, assignment due dates, social events and reminders. Feel overwhelmed about where to get started? Here's a helpful way to schedule your week:
1. Start big picture: As you receive each course syllabus, plug in assignment due dates, tests, and presentations for the entire semester. If a date is written in the syllabus, it's likely not going to change, and you can consider it set in stone.
2. Add extracurricular commitments: If you're in the school play, the debate club or have an on campus part-time job, these events will likely occur consistently at the same time each week for the semester. Take time now to add them into your weekly schedules so you can account for the time they require of you.
3. Jot down social events: If you know of a birthday party, a dorm outing or a trip off campus that you plan to attend later in the semester, add them to your planner now! That way, you'll be able to plan ahead in your academics, get caught up in your work, and not have to miss an opportunity to have fun! Neither your grades nor your social life should be sacrificed, and a planner can help a lot to make sure your schedule is balanced.
At the beginning of each week, look ahead at what you have scheduled. Add new events as they arise, and prioritize your academic and personal activities. With an idea of what your highest priorities are for the week, you will be able to see clearly where you'll have free time to spend on your hobbies or with your friends. Be realistic with how much time your assignments will take — it doesn't help in the long run if you don't allot enough time for big projects. Setting aside designated blocks of time for relaxation will allow you to be more focused when you need to work, too!
Try to stick to your schedule as much as possible, especially if this is your first time using an agenda. Also allow for some flexibility when something unexpected comes up — life happens! Within a few weeks, you will find an ease in your new, more structured routine. The days of forgetting your assignment due dates will be well behind you and you'll be able to make the most of your days in university — they are numbered, after all!