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Sep 25 2015
by Angela Tricarico

5 Ways to Stay on Top of Things

By Angela Tricarico - Sep 25 2015
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If your life is anything like mine is, it's probably a little bit hectic right now. There's a lot to get used to: new surroundings, making friends, sharing a room in some cases, finding your way around, joining clubs and organizations, going to class, studying, doing homework and somehow finding time for yourself. It's a lot. It's going to take a while to get into the swing of things. Creating a routine will come later — getting used to it happens now. Here's a few helpful hints to help you stay afloat. Consider them a life jacket of sorts. 

1. Use a planner

If you weren't the kind of person who used a planner in high school, you're in good company. It's a completely different game in college, however. You'll get used to using it eventually.

There are different types of planners. The concept of a bullet journal has become popular on the internet, and yeah, they look really nice, but they’re time consuming. Just setting it up, and creating a key for it is going to take more time than you probably have.

 

Angela Tricarico

Just use a planner to write down homework assignments, important due dates and out of class. It doesn’t have to be super elaborate, but mine is actually looking pretty bare.

If you’re more of a digital person who always has their phone on them, make Google Calendar your best friend immediately.

 

Angela Tricarico

2. Take breaks

This is a major one. Reading 50 textbook pages is never fun, I know. Reading 50 textbook pages straight through without stopping is even less fun. Here’s an easy solution to combat the drag of major assignments. It might even save you time by making you less distracted.

Put your phone on the other side of the room first, then just start reading or whatever it is you have to get done. Take a break every 15 pages or so. Grab your phone, check your texts and scroll through Twitter a bit to clear your head before going back to continue your work. It’ll make a huge difference, and you may even get your work done faster without all of the distractions. Your brain will thank you. 

3. Make lists

A huge tip I’ve learned since starting college is to make lists for everything. Making a to-do list and crossing everything off as you do it brings about a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, when you can see all of the crossed out things you did that day. 

Credit: Stephen Covey

The matrix, created by Stephen Covey, is explained pretty well in the picture. The point is to do all of the important but not urgent assignments before they have the chance to become important and urgent. It’ll help you balancing assignments with things that become less important. 

4. Take advantage of long breaks in your schedule

For some people, all of their classes are in a row and by noon, they’re done with classes and have the whole day free to do homework, essays, laundry, and anything else on the schedule for that day. Other people, like me, have a class and then four and a half hours until the next one. Napping is always a good idea, but the time in your long break could be used to finish up assignments or work on the shorter, less time consuming ones. That way, you’re checking things off the to-do list, but still have some time for Netflix or even a short nap! 

5. Take some “me time”

Take at least an hour before bed to do what you want to do, whether it’s reading, listening to music or watching Netflix. After a long day of work, you deserve it! After all, you know the saying: all work and no play…

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Angela Tricarico - University of New Haven

Angela Tricarico is a freshman at the University of New Haven majoring in communication and minoring in sports management. She loves writing, musical theater, and coffee. You can most likely find her in her room, singing an off-key one woman version of Les Mis. Follow her on twitter @angtric!

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