Back to school means grappling with that ever-present student dilemma. How to squeeze in the million and one things you have to get done?!
Because you do want it all…
You want the student life that you’ll talk about for years and you want the grades that create future opportunities. You don’t want to compromise one for the other. You don’t want to spend every waking minute buried under assignments, and you don’t want to drown in your reading list!
Fortunately, there are things you can do to make it to the holidays in one piece.
Get yourself organized so you can boost your productivity and you won’t be the one locked away in the library or clocking up endless all-nighters. Work smarter, not harder and you will stay on top of your studies and have plenty of time for fun too.
It’s the best of both worlds – just the way it should be – and here’s the way to do it:
- Get a planner
Get yourself organized and you can get the grades and have a life! A planner is the best place to do this. It’s the student tool that rules them all – the place to capture everything so you don’t carry it all in your head. A single reference point so you know what you need to do and where you need to be.
We love the SELF Scholar. It lasts an entire semester and it’s perfect for busy students who want to make time for it all.
It takes care of everything – assignment planning, deadline logging, weekly planning, daily scheduling – the lot. It’s not just for your school work either. This planner has your errands covered – even your meal planning. It also takes care of your social life – because college should be about having the best of both worlds.
Check it out HERE – and with code PRODUCTIVEANDPRETTY, you’ll save 15%.
- Always keep on top of deadlines
There’s nothing worse than stressing over a last-minute deadline for an assignment you totally forgot to start. When the pressure’s on, you struggle to think straight, can’t do your best work, and end up losing sleep after pulling an all-nighter, which puts you even further behind.
It gets worse if you miss a deadline all together. It’s embarrassing enough begging for an extension, but if you do get one that just adds even more work to your ram-packed schedule.
It’s far better to stay on top of it all in the first place so you don’t miss a thing. It’s something an assignment log will help you do.
Simply list out all your assignments and tests from every class in one place. Create yourself a comprehensive reference point and not only will you never drop the ball, but you’ll be able to organize your work to finish it all on time.
Your Assignment Log is a motivator too. Don’t underestimate how good you’ll feel ticking off work when it’s done. Yup, simple strategies can take you a long, l-o-n-g way.
- Make your biggest assignments feel manageable
There’s nothing worse than cluttering your brain with work you don’t want to start or don’t know how to start. This work steals your bandwidth, drains your motivation, and gets you procrastinating pushing you behind.
But projects like these are inevitable. College will challenge you intellectually. There will ALWAYS be some assignments that will break even the most dedicated student – so come prepared.
The best way to do this is with Project Planning Pages.
Use them to plan out your complicated or chunky projects into their individual component parts. Make a list of everything needed to finish the job. What books do you have to read, what sections must you write, what conversations should you have? When you’re looking at bite-sized tasks, suddenly that mammoth assignment IS doable. That’s because starting small gets you out of the starting blocks and as soon as you’ve got momentum going, you can keep it going.
You can be even more productive with your assignments when you Even work out how long you think each task will take to do. This information is productivity gold! With a list of tasks along with the amount of time needed, you can plan your day to finish is all.
It’s how to make heavy work feel easy – even when it isn’t!
- Keep a master to-do list
Students have a LOT to remember. As well as all your college work there’s a hectic social calendar plus a ton of errands to finish up.
You’ll drain your productivity if you rely on your brain alone to remember everything. Instead, write it down on paper and get it out of your head. This simple strategy cuts mental clutter and frees up the headspace you need for focused, high quality study.
With a complete list there’s less chance you’ll forget something too. Get it all written down and you can get busy turnings those dos into DONES!
We like Best Self’s Weekly Action Pad for this. As well as keeping a running list of everything you have to fit in, you can figure out your priorities and write down time estimates. It makes planning your week so much easier.
- Plan your week in advance
Being a student is all about being spontaneous. There’s nothing better than a late-night study sesh that turns into an impromptu dorm party. These unexpected events make student life amazing.
But you can’t be spontaneous all the time – especially when it comes to your studies. Without careful management of your never-ending to-do list, you’ll get behind and stressed out, then college isn’t as much fun.
Remember, there IS enough time to do it all (even when it doesn’t feel like it). Even when you can’t see the wood through the trees, careful time management will make even the heaviest to-do list feel doable. One way to keep hold of your time is to plan your week in advance.
Weekly planning pages are a great way to do this.
Start by working out your three weekly milestones. These are the three tasks or activities you MUST complete – even if everything else gets messed up. With these milestones under your belt, you’ll always hit the weekend feeling like a winner – even if there’s a ton more to do.
Next, spread your to-do list throughout the week so you can see your priorities at a glance. Not only will you get confident that you will get through it all, daily planning a breeze.
With your week carefully organized, Friday nights won’t be about cramming or stressing at everything left undone. Instead, they can kick-start a monumental weekend!
- Create balance
College is about clocking up plenty of extracurricular experiences as well as acing your exams. The more you explore in your free time, the more you have to draw on when it comes to your next steps.
So don’t fill your day with studies alone. Fill it with social events and activities too. Fun in the future is a powerful productivity strategy in itself. When there’s something to look forward to, you’ll keep your head down to ensure you’re free to make it.
Your calendar is a great place to figure out this balance – because you can see the mix in black and white. A calendar ensures you’re always in the right place at the right time too. No need to rely on memory alone to keep track of dates. With invites hitting you left, right, and center you’re going to forget something. So keep all your invites logged so you never suffer a night of pure FOMO.
- Plan your day by the hour
Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? It’s a time stealer!
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill however much time you give it. In other words, if you don’t set yourself a strict start and end time, that assignment task will take all day. You’ll boost your productivity significantly if you give yourself a realistic deadline for everything. Simply take your daily schedule and plan tasks into specific time slots.
This approach also stops the multi-tasking, which is a productivity drain in itself.
Planning at this level doesn’t apply to your schoolwork alone. You can tick through your errands in the same way. Need to go shopping or do your laundry. Plan a specific time in your day to do it and it’s more likely to get done.