In college, you have to split your time between classes, homework, chores, errands, socializing, and extracurricular activities. It can be challenging to juggle all these areas and have a balanced college life. But it’s not impossible.
Learning how to manage your time, however, is an essential skill that will benefit you further in life. Seeing as college is the ideal training ground for life skills, time management should also start here.
Whether you’re getting piano lessons or joining a student youth group, here are some of the best strategies to manage your time between academics and extracurricular activities.
1. Prioritize academics
In any case, your grades should come first. While extracurricular activities are also crucial to learning and growth, your academics should be the higher priority, next to your physical and mental well-being.
2. Create a schedule
The key to living a well-balanced college life is to develop a schedule and stick by it. In this way, you can find time for every critical aspect of your life, including school, extracurricular activities, and of course, personal matters.
Start filling your calendar with classes and other important school activities. Then, plot your extracurricular activities in a way that they won’t burn you out every week. At the same time, set a few hours of each day for your necessary tasks, such as chores, studying, homework, exercise, and rest.
However, resist the urge to fill your schedule to the brim to “make the most out of each day.” It’s essential to set a breather once in a while, especially to spend time with your loved ones.
3. Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything
Committee responsibilities, extra shifts at work, college parties with your friends. There are so many things to do other than academics and extracurricular activities. However, there will always come the point where you don’t have the time to do everything.
When you don’t want to do something, don’t have the time, or don’t think it will benefit you–learn how to say no. It won’t be the end of the world.
4. Ask for help
When you enter college, keep in mind that you don’t have to do everything yourself despite the notion that you have to be independent at this point. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Call your parents when you feel the stress overwhelming you. Ask your friends to help with homework or errands. Go to the guidance office if you need professional help. In any case, be proactive and avoid letting stress get the best of you.
5. Limit distractions
In college, there are plenty of distractions. There always seems to be a party going somewhere, friends inviting you for nights out, or TV shows that are begging to be watched. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while, it’s important to limit your distractions as much as possible–at least during the weekdays.
Here are a few tips to limit distractions and help you stay focused:
- Study in the right environment with minimal distractions
- Put your smartphone away while doing homework
- Create a study ritual that works for you
- Space out study sessions to avoid overwhelming yourself
- Find good studying tools
- Reserve other activities for after doing academics
6. Slim down your commitments
Would you rather join five clubs and have little time for all of them or be part of one or two clubs and be able to participate in most of the activities? The latter is the best choice if you want to achieve a good balance between academics, social life, and extracurricular activities.
When you enter college, decide what type of extracurricular activities you want to commit to, be it sports, a college organization, or other clubs. Choose the ones you’re passionate about and stick to them, staying involved as much as you can. When you find that your obligations are too overwhelming at a certain point, consider letting go of the least important ones.
7. Leave some time for yourself
Sometimes, college can be a little overwhelming, and that’s normal. To avoid getting burn out as much as possible, always remember to set some time for yourself. Enjoy your ‘me time’ and let yourself do nothing for a day or two. Moreover, don’t forget to take care of your health, especially your mental well-being.
Extracurricular activities can enrich your social life and college experience while helping you grow and develop as a person. They should not, however, cost you your academics, health, or other essential aspects in life. So while you’re navigating your freshman year, practice these strategies to develop a good balance between your academics and extracurricular activities.