rebelling against low expectations

4 Steps to Manage Your Time (And Keep Sane During the School Year)

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Do you ever feel like you’re so busy that you’re cutting out all of the things that matter to you, like your friends, your family, and most importantly, your time with God?

This happens to me a lot. I’m in college working on a Math degree, so my classes consume a lot of my time. On top of that, I’m part of several different clubs, co-curriculars, and committees. I often hit points where I feel like there’s no way I can do everything I want to.

As I’ve learned how to deal with these times, I’ve learned several tips, that I want to share with you as well.

1: Realize that your time has worth.

My whole perspective on time changed once I started to think of it as something that had value–because then I was less likely to waste it.

Time is valuable; think of the things you spend your hours on as investments that you’re making. You don’t want to invest in only one thing and spend all your time doing that. You also don’t want to invest in things that won’t be fulfilling in the long run.

2: Examine how you’re spending your time.

Now that you know that your time is worthwhile, you must find out how you’re spending it. There are several ways to do this.

I like to draw a schedule in my bullet journal, detailing how I spend my time on an average week, including classes, meals, meetings, commuting, or whatever is relevant at the time. I have a friend who sometimes makes a spreadsheet that details how he spends each hour for a week. But any visualization of how you’re spending your time will work. This allows you to see your time in a new perspective, and see where you have free time or what may be consuming too much of your time.

3: Decide what you want to prioritize.

Make a list of the things you most want to invest your time into. For me, that list is:

Spending time with God and other believers

Good relationships

Education

Sleep

Health (physical and mental)

Try to keep it small, maybe 4-6 things–it should be the top things in your life, and things you need to stay sane and relatively happy. Once you have this list, hang on to it, remember it, think about it whenever you’re faced with a decision about your time. If whatever you’re about to do takes a large portion of time away from one or more of things on the list, consider carefully whether or not it’s worth it.

Sometimes the answer will be yes, because great experiences are worth sacrificing for–but you shouldn’t make the decision without thinking about the time cost.

4. Adjust your schedule

With the visualization of your time and your list of priorities in mind, you can now adjust your schedule to fit in everything you want to do.

First, find the chunks of time where you’re least productive, or where you could multitask. For example, I realized that I could combine my time with God with my drive to school. Now, I spend 20 minutes almost every morning praying and worshiping God in the car, where earlier I was struggling to find the time to do that.

Then, look for areas where you should cut back, like time spent on Instagram or online window shopping. Finally, piece it all together, developing your morning and evening routines, and choosing periods of time to allot to specific things. Keep a planner of some sort to make sure your plans don’t overlap.

One important thing to remember as you do this is that your schedule isn’t constant. Sometimes you’ll have to put a lot of focus into one of your priorities, and a few others might get less attention. This is okay. If it’s the weekend before finals, it’s fine to not spend time having fun with your friends and to eat more junk because it’s easier to get your hands on. If your friend is going through a tough time, it’s okay to let your studies suffer a bit to spend time with him or her. The important thing is that as a general rule, you have balance. You shouldn’t let one thing consume your entire life.

In short–your time is valuable. It shouldn’t be wasted on things that don’t matter. Instead, it should be invested in the things that do. It can be hard to find time to do everything, but that’s part of what makes your time valuable. With a bit of planning and good prioritization, you’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish.


About the author

Jenny Smucker

is a 19-year-old college student from Harrisburg, Oregon. The things she loves most are Jesus and math (her major), and she dreams of being a high school math and science teacher. When she has spare time, which is not often, she likes to read poetry and play her ukulele.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →

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