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The Greatest Skill in College: Time Management

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Alisha Gangadharan

PHHS ‘17, Lafayette College ‘21

Picture this: you have a midterm paper due in 2 hours. In the 30 minutes since you’ve gotten to the library you’ve edited 3 possible pictures to post on Instagram, taken a Buzzfeed quiz on what your soulmate's name is based on your favorite ice cream flavor, analyzed your ex’s new girlfriend’s entire Facebook page and can now name all the members of her extended family including her two dogs, found your least favorite professor’s page and read through the abstracts of all their recent publications, and texted your group chat to see who wanted to go on a Chipotle run at 6.

You’ve definitely accomplished a lot, but none of it involves your paper. The truth is, we’ve all been there and as exciting as it is to know that Natalie has a golden doodle named Winnie, you have to know when it’s time to stop the procrastination. There is a lot to balance in college, but once you get organized and practice getting into a solid work routine, you definitely have the ability to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Here’s a few tips:

  1. Write stuff down - This isn’t exactly a college hack, but it’s just plain useful. There are going to be a lot of class deadlines you’ll need to keep up with as well as different meetings, events, lectures etc. Figure out if an app, online calendar, or old school planner is the best option for you.

  2. Keep yourself on schedule - Try and plan out what you want to accomplish in a day. By holding yourself accountable, it makes it less likely that you’ll deviate from those plans.

  3. Know when to put your phone down - You know your phone is your biggest distraction, but honestly we’re all addicted to it in some form. If you’re studying or trying to seriously get some work done, turn your phone off or set a timer that tells you every half hour or so when you can give yourself a few minute phone break.

  4. Find balance - Getting #stuffdone is important but it’s just as important to take some time to relax (you’re also much more productive when you take breaks in between working!) Budget time in your weekdays to see your friends, get meals with others, or call family.

By no means are these strategies foolproof… college is sometimes chaotic and you should expect the unexpected, but by keeping these tips in mind you’re more likely to maintain some sanity even when the going gets tough!

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