Many intelligent students don’t do well in college, not because they’re not smart, but because they don’t know how to prioritize. In college, time management/prioritizing is half the battle. Most students who struggle with prioritizing fall under one of two extremes: they either over commit themselves because they think it will help them in the future, or they spend too much time doing things that won’t profit them in the future. Prioritizing is the art of finding balance between over-committing yourself and being lazy. Here are some ways to make sure you manage your time correctly.
Prioritizing is half the battle in college. Here are some tips to help you prioritize your life! Click To Tweet
Know Your Limits
The problem many people have with prioritizing is that they spread themselves too thin. They commit themselves to too many things, and as a result, they can’t give their best to any of these commitments. The best way to avoid this is to know your limits and don’t cross them. If you feel like you’ve already crossed your limits, check out the next point…
Learn How to Say “No”
Once you know your limits, you can determine whether you need to cut some things out of your schedule. If it comes to the point that you need to drop a commitment, don’t be afraid to do it. Similarly, don’t sign yourself up for any additional activities if you know you can barely carry the load you already have. Only commit to an activity when you know you can dedicate an appropriate amount of time to it. It’s better to be committed to less activities and do well at all of them rather than to be committed to many activities and give less than your best because you’ve spread yourself too thin.
Also, don’t be afraid to say “no” or “later” to things that can wait. If you’re neck deep in work, you are allowed to politely decline your friend’s offer to go out to eat or to not respond to tweets/social media for a while.
The “rock and sand” principle is a great way to start prioritizing. In summary, this principle states that if you fill a jar with sand, there will be no room for the rocks. However, if you fill the jar with rocks first, the sand will find its way through the jar in the spaces in between the rocks. In this analogy, the rocks represent our big commitments: work, school, family, and health. The sand represents our smaller commitments, like Netflix. In other words, be sure to take care of the “rocks” before you take care of the “sand”.
Create a Schedule
Use a schedule to keep those priorities in order! First, schedule in your “rocks.” Then, schedule your “sand” around it. This makes sure that you’ll address what’s important first. Pinterest has many printable blank schedules that can help you out with this. You could also use Google Calendar.
Track How You Spend Your Time
Do you know how you spend your time? It’s so easy to spend hours on social media and Netflix and be totally unaware of it. Make sure you spend your time on your “rocks” before you spend time on the “sand.” If you want to track how much time you spend doing a certain activity, check out the app called “Hours” that will help you track your activities.
Once you know how you spend your time, you can make changes to your schedule that’ll better reflect your priorities. For example, if you track how you spend your time and realize you spend way too much time on social media (like I do… oops!), you can make an effort to spend less time on social media and more time working.
In summary, prioritizing is half the battle in college. We need to find the balance between over-committing ourselves and spending too much time doing things that won’t profit us in the future.
How do you prioritize your time?