Living away from home (or even at home) and balancing life with school can be challenging on many levels. College students must contend with living arrangements, transportation, time commitments for their classes, finishing homework, shopping for and preparing meals, squeezing in a social life and working to pay for everything. It is no wonder these responsibilities can feel overwhelming.
Understanding how to be productive to help you get your assignments completed on time and still have room left in your schedule for other activities is key to being balanced.
Keep these tips in mind when you start your college journey to help you enjoy your journey to the fullest:
Discover Your Best Environment
Your surroundings play a huge role in your ability to be successful. With a private room, you will be able to close the door and focus on your tasks to get your work done. If you share an apartment or live with a roommate or occupy a noisy and thriving dorm, you may have to seek shelter when it comes to studying. Many students head to the campus to get their assignments completed somewhere quiet and well-lit.
You may be able to reserve a room in the library, work outside on a picnic blanket under a tree, huddle up in your car or hit your favorite coffee shop. Figure out what environment suits you best and where and when you can access it for maximum productivity.
Perhaps, you can manage the surrounding noise in your room if you have some headphones on and your own space. Try different areas and scenarios out to see what works best for you.
When Are You Most Productive?
Determine when your peak productivity hours are. When do you feel the most alert? Is it first thing when you wake up, in the afternoon or at night? If you can track your productivity cycle, you can arrange to complete your homework and studying within those hours.
Refrain from procrastinating as this can quickly lead to stress and sleepless nights. Understanding when you can focus and concentrate the best can help you do your homework better and faster in less time.
Do you notice that you are more alert after working out or going for a run? This might be an optimal time to read that chapter or rewrite those important notes. Do you feel sleepy in the afternoon and find yourself re-reading certain paragraphs? This is probably not your ideal time to retain information. Are you a morning person? Or do you struggle to get up and at 'em? Look at your normal schedule and see when studying will make the most sense for your rhythm.
Apps Can Help Keep You Organized
Some students claim that apps are their best friends. If you rely on to-do and scheduling apps, you will have an easier time dealing with homework and working on group projects. Check out different time management and productivity apps. These can help you determine your best times and point out any behavior problems to be aware of. Establishing excellent study habits and having the ability to plan ahead will help you maximize your time and give you some free time. These life skills will be beneficial in any job in the future and can help you in your upcoming career.
Tackle Your Homework With An Open Mind
It is wise to get involved with your harder assignments first. Start homework when you are fresh with the subject matter. Take frequent breaks and drink lots of water. It can be tricky to resist distractions, especially the longer you work. If Calculus is your least favorite subject, this is where you want to begin. You can feel accomplished and proud of yourself when once you completed the worst first. It is nice to finish your study session by focusing on a subject that you enjoy.
Vital Items First & Foremost
Beginning with your highest priority items can help you focus on essential tasks and get them complete and out of the way. For instance, if you have math homework due quickly and need to start an English essay next week, tackle your math and allow yourself some space to breathe before jumping into your English assignment.
Utilize a productivity app on your phone or an old-fashioned whiteboard to establish a calendar. Set reminders to alert yourself a few days before an item is due so that you have time to wrap up any details and submit it on time.
Breaking Down Your Tasks Into Micro Steps
A huge part of procrastination is feeling overwhelmed. If you are dreading starting something because you think it will take up your entire evening or wreck your whole weekend, it is time to break things down. You will be more productive if you break your projects down into manageable pieces. You don't have to finish the entire homework assignment in one session.
Establish a workflow that allows you to tackle bits and pieces over a few days. This is a great strategy as you will always have things to work on if you get stuck or bored, it is easier to switch gears. You may read the material one day and draft an outline. You may answer some questions another day and then review and proofread on another day. Maybe you have to complete a title page or some artistic component.
Planning will help minimize cramming the entire assignment into a few days before it is due. It will help you have time to review your work and make changes. Look at your projects and see how you can stretch each component over a few days and larger projects over a week or a month. This will make everything much more manageable and help you steer clear of burnout.