For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Sep 27 2016
by Jade Miller

8 Ways to be Productive in College and Still Get Sleep

By Jade Miller - Sep 27 2016

As we make our way into the school year, your schedule starts to fill up a little bit more each week. The activities fair has taken place, you're involved in at least two clubs, but there's a lot more besides clubs going on in your life. You've got classes, maybe greek life commitments, a sport or other athletics, a job, the list goes on and on. The problem is, you're not getting enough sleep and you sure as heck don't feel like you have enough time in your day. Here are some times to mange your time wisely your freshman year!

1. Nap when you can!

It's important that you're getting enough sleep. There's this new phrase people are using now, called "sleep debt." This is when you get less than eight to nine hours of sleep. Basically, if you don't sleep that amount, you have sleep debt, and you're expected to make it up sometime later that day. If you don't, and continue this process, you're going to feel more tired throughout the week and the upcoming months, causing you to rely on coffee, energy drinks and much more to keep you awake. Make time in your schedule to nap, it'll help you stay up a little bit later to avoid crankiness the next day!

2. Use a planner. 

This cannot be emphasized enough. And, it's pretty simple. Something that's helpful is creating a block of time, either between classes, before or after, and write in: "STUDY." This can prove to be extra helpful, because it means you don't have to make plans during that time, and you can focus directly on studying for that class you don't feel confident in. It also let's you no longer worry about what to do in those small amounts of time. Even sitting down for 20 minutes going over your notes before class is studying, and it can help you prepare for the class itself. 

3. Set an alarm to go to bed. 

This may seem ridiculous, but do it! It sets yourself up for success the next day, and get's you in a sleep routine that benefits not only your physical state, but your mental state as well. If you're studying until 10 and that alarm goes off, maybe it's time to leave the library, put down the books and head back to your dorm to get some z's. It's important to get in a routine, that way, you know you're getting enough sleep. 

4. Leave yourself time in-between meetings and class. 

This seems pretty obvious, but again, it's something people can forget to do. Giving yourself at least ten minutes in-between meetings, appointments and classes and give you enough time to destress, take a breather and collect yourself before the next thing. The reason this is so important is because often we go from one meeting to the next without time to collect ourselves, which leaves us frazzled, annoyed and in a chaotic mess. 

5. Make to-do lists your new best friend. 

Maybe it's for a week, a month or daily, either way, to-do lists are a great way to get things done and get ahead of schedule so you have time later in the week to relax. You can even put little things on the to-do list, like, "take a shower before 10 AM," will prove helpful to our schedule. Plus, putting small minuscule tasks like this on your list will help you stay productive as your carry on with your day. Of course, don't forget to put the important stuff on the list as well, like studying for your exams or finishing a chapter for class. Just think – every time you finish something, it's one more thing to cross off your list, which makes you look really productive. 

6. Go to all of your classes. 

Skipping class to do homework for that class is probably the most unproductive thing you can do. It seems so obvious, but if you don't go to class, you're going to miss out on important material that could benefit you in the long run, not just for the class but for your major, minor or anything in-between. 

7. Divide up the hard stuff. 

A lot of the time, classes will have semester-long projects, papers or assignments to do. Divide up the work so that you have time to focus on small sections at a time. This way, you don't have to do one massive assignment in one night – you have time to adjust, edit, fix, etc., anything that will go on with it. It let's you clean up the messy parts and feel more confident about it. This is a good technique if you feel as though you don't have enough time in your day; you can even split up chapter readings or notes to get the work done. 

8. Say "no." 

I know that college comes with a lot of awesome opportunities, but don't feel like you have to say yes to everyone who asks you to go out and do something. College is indeed, harder than high school and you're going to need to spend more time studying than you may think. Say no to that concert, or going out to eat or anything else that may seem to take up a lot of time. If you can't finish an assignment but you went out to eat instead, you'll be regretting it. Make sure that your time is split up and you know how to say no when you have a hard test or assignment coming up. Trust me, there will be plenty of concerts and plenty of dinners or events to attend. 

I know that it can be hard to manage your time in college, especially with so many awesome opportunities that are opening up. But, balancing your time between classes and other opportunities is also important. Take these tips to heart the next time your stressed out, they may prove helpful in your time of need!

Lead Image Credit: Loic Djim via Unsplash

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Jade Miller - University of Rochester

Jade Miller is a sophomore at the University of Rochester double majoring in Business and English Literature. She is a Junior Editor for the Fresh U national site. She is a member of the sorority Gamma Phi Beta and also a coxswain for UR Rowing. She loves dogs, reading, and having a single this year in her res hall. Follow her on Twitter @jade_miller_

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