I’ve spent most of my life managing some pretty demanding schedules. In middle school and high school I attended a challenging private prep school and I was an athlete at Cheer Athletics spending a minimum of 12 hours in the gym in addition to travel on the weekends. All weekend. Honestly, sometimes I don’t know how I did all that – but actually I do know – structure, organization and a relentless commitment to keep showing up and do the work.
College Life success turns out to be a whole lot like that so I’m going to share some of the things that are working for me. Not perfectly. Far from it. I just want to post a few ideas I wish I had when I first started college.
WALL CALENDAR / PLANNER
My wall calendar & planners are everything! Being able to see my schedule clearly motivates me to stay on top of things. I basically use these for anything that will take up a big portion of my time, absolutely can’t be missed, anything that falls outside the normal weekly routine of college, sorority or working on my business.
- I love using the app Canva, it makes it easy and even fun to design your own calendar, or weekly schedule. I’ve created some that you can print out and write on or even edit yourself!
Fun fact: I love writing out or creating my monthly activities – it’s one of my creative outlets and one of my self-care activities. I may do a quick video on how exactly I do that in a future post! Stay tuned 🙂
If you’re anything like me it’s easy to let all the things overwhelm you to the point where you just have so much to do that you end up paralyzed doing nothing. Any time in the past where I have thrown my routine out the door and juts been more relaxed about getting things done, some things would fall through the cracks.
I’ve learned to commit to my weekly routines to make sure I don’t let things slide. Setting aside a specific day for certain tasks and setting aside a time for daily activities. For the things that really make a big difference, I make sure I set time aside for it. So in addition to going to class and homework, things like keeping my apartment/bedroom clean and organized, meal prepping, grocery shopping, laundry, sorority stuff, relationships, and of course, working on my business (which is similar to having a part-time job – sometimes full-time!!!
This one is huge. It’s way too easy to say yes to running errands or grabbing something to eat or going out with friends. After all, your friends have busy college lives too, so if they’re out doing stuff before studying why not go with them?
If you have a plan for your day – or just for your week – it’s much easier to prioritize what invitations you say yes to. In other words, if you don’t plan for yourself, someone else will likely do it for you. And those plans don’t always help you out in the long run.
I literally grew up on a team. We were family. Cheer Athletics Jags, Cheetahs and Junglecats. So I like to do things with other people. I’m officially the most extroverted in my family. When I retired from competitive cheerleading one of the hardest things for me was to figure out how to have fun and thrive without a dedicated team family. Today, I’m getting much better at prioritizing myself and my goals – and it often looks like staying home when everyone, like EVERYONE, goes out.
Staying healthy is a complete science on its own. Confession: I still am learning this one. But I have figured out when to go to the clinic versus when to go to the ER. Seriously though. STAY HEALTHY, PEOPLE!!! The best way you know how.
Pro tip: Your parents are probably right about the things you should avoid in order to stay healthy than you’ll want to give them credit for.
But even if you stay hydrated, get enough sleep, never ever share drinks or food with anyone else, wash your hands, keep away from friends who are sick – if you’re in the dorm, or live with a roommate or two off campus – you still might get sick! Speaking from experience here, LOL!
Setbacks related to health issues is how I quickly realized how important it was for me to develop strong time management skills. My weekly routines and self-care plans help me to prioritize my plans and goals for my life in college and beyond.
YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS
Here’s the thing – at some point you can only schedule and plan so far – and then you gotta just DO IT.
Whether it’s a paper, a shift at work, a load of laundry, a workout at the gym or calling home when you don’t feel like talking because texting is way easier but parents don’t see it that way – whatever it is – there comes a time when we just have to do it.
And even the hard stuff needs to get done. One thing that has helped me more than anything else is writing out a list. A good action item list can help clear the clutter from your brain and get you focused on the next task at hand. I also have a playlist for just exactly those times, makes it more fun to get the not-so-fun stuff done!
PUT YOUR PERSONALITY INTO IT
As I said earlier, I love working on my wall calendar. And my daily planner. And my to-do list. I do a lot of hand lettering, adding color and texture to the handwriting – it’s a very creative outlet for me. And there’s always an amazing playlist in the background, some vanilla birthday cake scent around me, and hopefully some really great snacks. Whatever works. You do you.
I pulled together some of my favorite inspiration on Pinterest and found some super fun wall calendar and planner tools that you can check out in my Amazon shop.
Hope this was helpful. Until next time!