College offers a world of opportunities, but trying to keep up with your grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and maintain a healthy social life is overwhelming. You want to make sure you don’t overschedule yourself; doing so can lead to burnout, fatigue, and more serious health issues. Here are some tips on how to prevent overscheduling yourself while in college.
Setting priorities — for both academic and non-academic commitments — will help you tremendously. You’ll want to have an academic plan that outlines what courses you need to take. Before each semester, make sure to review your academic plan so that you schedule your classes appropriately. This is especially important if you choose to work part time or participate in extracurricular activities.
Next, you’ll want to review your non-academic commitments or other areas of your life that you value such as family, personal finances, and free time. Once you’ve considered your non-academic responsibilities, set priorities for them and compare them with your academic responsibilities. Now, set realistic priorities that allow you to focus on the most important aspects of your life. Make sure you’ve left yourself some downtime. Remember that if you have to squeeze something into your schedule, you need to either remove that task or rearrange your priorities.
Keep a Calendar
Try using a physical calendar like a planner to maintain your schedule. Using a physical calendar might sound pre-historic to most millennials, but think about using something visual that outlines your life laid out in front of you. You can see what you have to do on Monday and Friday all in one view. With a physical calendar, you can also write notes or reminders in the margins, which you can’t do with calendar applications on smartphones and other electronic devices.
If you thought you were a master at multitasking while in high school, then college will test those skills. In fact, multitasking will help you survive while in college. However, multitasking requires practice, and certain activities are easier to balance than others. For example, if you ride the bus or train around campus, you can open up your notebook and study your notes during your commute. Texting during class, on the other hand, isn’t such a great idea because it interferes with your learning.
Schedule Some Downtime
When setting priorities and creating your calendar, be sure you schedule some downtime. Set aside a block of time on your calendar that is just for you, and don’t alter it under any circumstances. You’ll eventually become an expert at telling people no when they ask you to do something else. You can spend this time alone or enjoy a night on the town with friends.
Every college student has felt stressed out for many reasons, but you can avoid stress from overscheduling. College is a busy time, but setting priorities and filling your calendar wisely is going to reduce stress levels. So, leave yourself time for mental breaks; your physical and mental health will thank you.