1) Avoid napping!
Freshman year I used to come back to my dorm, get under the covers and nap for at least an hour. However, after I got up, I would always be so groggy and not want to do ANYTHING except to continue laying in my bed and watch Netflix. Then, I would end up having to cram and do all of my work at night or worse– miserably the next day. I know that some people can nap and wake up feeling totally refreshed. But for me, it was the opposite. Now, I make sure that I get at least 8 hours of sleep and I always make my bed in the morning so that I’m less tempted to fall back into it when I get back from class. If you find that you absolutely need a nap to get through the day, then I would suggest carving out a specific time in your schedule and set an alarm or two to make sure that you’re up and ready to continue your day!
2) Get work done ASAP
I know that wanting to nap or NOT do class work when you just get back is ideal. But I promise that doing your work, or at least starting it, as soon as you get back from class is the way to go. Everything you just learned is still fresh in your head and you still have a bit of that focus left. Don’t even look at your phone or get distracted by Facebook on your laptop. Just sit down at your desk and start taking out your work.
This might seem like a no-brainer. Using a planner helps you organize what you need to do, due dates and everything important. In order to stay extra organized, you can go as far as to color coding everything such as homework, appointments, deadlines and extracurricular activities. However, I’d also like to point out that a planner isn’t always necessary. I find that I never continue using my planner. I always begin the semester with one, but then somewhere in the middle it ends up at the bottom of a bag or desk drawer. For me, I would rather use my phone and a whiteboard calendar to organize what I need to do…
4) Use your phone!
I am always setting reminders and making events in my calendar. For most people, their phone is aways in their hand or bag anyways. So why not use it to stay organized? I love that you can set alerts an hour or week before something is due or happening. When I have something pending completion, it lingers on my phone’s home screen until I get it done. If you’re anything like me (actually this might just be me but), then you can’t stand when there are those little red blips (notifications) all over your screen. For some reason I just can’t stand it. So, when I have a notification set under my reminders, getting it to go away serves as a motivator to get work out of the way!
5) Sticky notes.
I don’t usually use sticky notes as reminders because sometimes there are too many that I never look at them until I need to know something. So, I’ll use them primarily for organizing what I need to do. In the morning, I’ll make a list and stick it to my whiteboard calendar, or I’ll make a sticky note for everything that I need to get done that day (ripping it down and crumpling it up is extremely gratifying).
6) Whiteboard or desk calendar.
Putting one above or on your desk is a must. It’s like blueprint for your oh-so-busy academic life. Since I have a whiteboard, each month I’ll write down deadlines, appointments, meetings, etc. I also refer to the calendar on my phone and fill in what I need to do each month. I recommend going through each of your syllabi and wiring everything down and when you are going to do them. It’s nice because if you find yourself sitting at your desk a lot like me, then you will always be looking up at it and will most likely never forget what you need to get done.
7) Office hours.
It might be intimidating to visit a professor during office hours, but if you want to check to see how you’re doing it’s never a bad idea. If you have a question, or are struggling then it is a MUST. Not only will you figure out what you need to change, you’ll also gain a lot more insight than you would expect to. Your professor wants to help you and wants to see you do well in their class.
8) Keep busy.
Knowing from experience, the less you have to do, the more you will want to put off what you need to do. Keeping busy with extracurriculars or going to the gym forces you to make a schedule and organize your time and priorities. If you know that you only have one or two things to complete, then you are more likely to save it until last-minute. Keeping busy also helps you to stay motivated and energized to get work done so that you can get to bed early or have time at the end of the day to watch Netflix. 🙂
9) Stay hydrated.
There is nothing worse than being hydrated and trying to meet deadlines or get started on an assignment. Drinking water helps your brain work faster and stay on top of what you’re doing. I recommend taking a water bottle to class and trying to drink as much as you can before you get back to your room.
I know it’s tempting to not read an assignment or chapters in a book when the professor goes over them in class or conveniently makes a slide show summarizing what you need to know. However, when you do read, it makes everything so much easier to learn. Books for a class provide more insight into what you should know, and with that, makes it easier to rememberer. After all, the professor made you buy/rent that ridiculously expensive book for a reason!