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Jul 19 2016
by Lauren Reamy

7 Tips On How To Time Block

By Lauren Reamy - Jul 19 2016
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With college comes new opportunities, and with new opportunities come new responsibilities. In high school, the day was planned out for us and we never had to make choices about how we would spend most of it, but in college, it's up to us to decide how we spend our time. For a lot of people, this is exciting because it means being able to take Netflix breaks and naps in the middle of the day, but it's also important to look at the big picture and make sure that you're being as productive as possible. Time blocking your schedule can be a great way to both keep you busy, and have enough free time to feel like you have a balanced schedule. It's a method used by many, but if you don't know where to start, here are some tips.

1. Make a To-Do List Everyday

The most important part of time-blocking your schedule is making sure that you know what needs to get done. A quick and simple way to do this is to make a list of things you need to get done each day. This will ensure that you make time to do the more important tasks, rather than just forgetting about them. To make one, all you need is a piece of paper (you can also use your phone or a planner) and pen. Think of the assignments, errands and tasks that you would like to complete and write them down.

2. Prioritize Your Time

There are only so many hours in a day, so you need to make sure that you're spending your time out of classes and clubs doing the things that are most important. Since you have a to-do list, prioritizing comes pretty easy. You can either put numbers by each item, indicating what order you will do them in, or you can organize your list so that the most important task is at the top and least important is last. With your newly prioritized to-do list, you will be able to tackle all of your assignments and errands, making sure that the ones that need to get done sooner, are completed in a timely manner.

3. Schedule-In Studying

A common mistake made by students is forgetting to study, which is actually quite easy to combat. The way you remember to study is putting it into your schedule, just like you would with other events. If you find that you are constantly putting studying off to do other things, write it in your calendar for a specific time every day and stick to it. This way, studying is more of an event than a chore, and you are more likely to do it.

4. Strategize Your Free Time

Just because you time block your schedule doesn't mean you have to be busy at every moment. In fact, keeping spaces free in your schedule to hang out with friends or relax is a cornerstone of time blocking. The difference is that you want to make sure you have free time, but not too much. Free time should be like a reward and something you look forward to because, let's be honest, nobody likes too much free time. Keep spaces open for hanging with friends, but also remember if you have too much free space, you may end up regretting it.

5. Save Errands For The Weekend

According to How To Study In College, you should save errands like grocery shopping and laundry for the weekends. See the week ahead as a work week and don't let small tasks distract from your larger, more important ones. A lot of the time, these things will be used as excuses to not study, but if you schedule them for the weekends, you shouldn't run into this problem.

6. Look At Your Syllabus

To avoid that last minute all-nighter during finals week, write down when all of your big assignments are due in a planner when you get your syllabus. This way, you can plan ahead of time when you will work on them, so that you can get them done on time and be well rested for your finals.

7. Hold Yourself Accountable

If you want to do something, schedule it. A big problem a lot of people run into with their goals is that they don't hold themselves accountable for them. Putting it into your schedule will make sure that you stick to it. This is how I get myself to work out, because actually having it as a part of my schedule is so much more motivating than saying I'll get to it later, and then just forgetting.

With this advice, you should be a master at time blocking. The great thing about this method of scheduling is that it's flexible, so you can mold it to whatever comes up or changes in your life. I wish you the best of luck with the coming school year and hope these tips help to keep you organized your freshman year.

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash.com

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Lauren Reamy - George Mason University

Lauren Reamy is a sophomore at George Mason University, majoring in Vocal Performance. Besides singing, she loves musical theatre, hanging out with her pets, and reading way too many books.

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