There is a fine line between abandoning your social life to study and abandoning your GPA to have a social life. Fortunately, finding that line isn’t as hard as it looks.
Ah, the age-old dilemma: How do I balance academics, a social life, and sleep? The current answer is: you don’t. You pick two and ignore the one you didn’t pick. However, I hope to provide a slightly different answer. People in the workforce do it all the time. They work, they sleep, and they hang out with their friends and/or significant other. Workers, white-collar and blue-collar, have even less free time than we do, yet they have a life outside of work (R.I.P. Accountants). The problem isn’t that we have too much time on our plate, it’s that we have too much freedom and we don’t know what to do with it. You manage your freedom, you manage everything. Here’s a few tips how you can do that.
Get a Planner
Getting a planner is a simple way of becoming good at time management. How it works: you write everything you deem important. Assignments, extracurricular activities, work (if you work), hang-outs with friends, hobbies, exercise, everything. That’s it. By writing things down, you don’t risk forgetting something or planning too much. Once you get the hang of it, you can dial back how much you write. The point is to get used to a strict schedule.
Feel Free to Say No
You don’t need to do everything someone asks you to do. Just because someone asks you to help them with homework, asks you to do something for them, or even asks you to hang out, it doesn’t mean you have to say “yes”. You can say, “Sorry, I can’t. I have an important assignment due next week.” It doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend, it just means you have other things going on.
Wake Up Earlier
The key to waking up early is to go to bed early. By going to bed earlier, you’re able to wake up earlier and feel less tired. By waking up earlier, you now have the whole day to get things done instead of just the late morning and/or afternoon. Going to bed earlier also helps you feel more focused because you’ve gotten more sleep which makes you more efficient.
Prioritize Daily Activities
We all have things we consider important. We have our hobbies, our Netflix, and our friends on top of our academics, clubs, and work. You don’t need to totally get rid of one of those things. You just need to have your priorities in order. Start with academics and work your way down, depending on what you value.
Combine Aspects of Each Area
Another method of balancing activities is to “kill two birds with one stone.” An example with this is studying with friends and/or significant other. Just because you guys aren’t in the same classes doesn’t mean you can’t get together and keep each other on track. You can spend 45 minutes of studying and 15 minutes of goofing off. Another example is participating in extracurricular activities with friends. This is good because you introduce them to another part of your world.
These are 5 tips that a few other people and I use to manage our time and give each area of our life the appropriate amount of attention.