Ever feel like you’re running around like a wild chicken with her head cut off? I’ve definitely been there. I feel ya. Well, if you’d like to figure out a stepwise approach to getting rid of that feeling, fear no more – your instructions are here!
How to plan your hours:
If you haven’t done so already, make a Google+ account. This will give you access to Google Drive, where I link this free printable Google Sheets worksheet. Make a copy to store in your personal Drive account. Open the sheet and proceed to the following steps:
Remember that you have 24 hours per day X 7 days per week = 168 hours per week
- First, emphasize the importance of sleep – start by blocking out 8-10 hours per night depending on your personal needs.
- Plan at least 30 min before bed and 30 min in the morning to prepare for bed and to adjust to waking up (stretch, brush teeth, meds, wash face, etc.)
- Fill your class times into the grid. This visual will help you figure out when u need to travel and when you’re going to have time blocks to do your homework, studying, and other personal things.
- Remember, a 3-credit hour course assumes you will need to spend 9 hours per week outside of class on FOCUSED studying. No phone, no social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), no breaks included, no doctor appointments or FaceTime or dinner interrupting. Plan those things for OUTSIDE of those hours you plan to study (you will take care of those distractions in step 5 below). So taking 18 credit hours implies you should plan out 54 hours per week to straight-up study.
- Once you’ve blocked out your travel time, meal times, bedtime and morning prep times, study times, and in-class times, you may be surprised with how little (or how much) time you have left! This time is where you can now schedule in fun stuff, regular therapy or doctor appointments, grocery shopping, planning, meal prep, laundry, balancing your finances or budget, etc.
- Set smart goals (check this article for how to do this) for what you will accomplish during each hour block of your study time for your classes. This will get you to stop worrying about how and when your hw assignments and readings will get done. It works because you have indicated to yourself that you’ve already planned out ample time and space for this and any hiccups. This method of reassuring yourself through engineered control measures YOU have set for yourself is providing a safe atmosphere (environment) for your brain to relax. That way, when you study you will actually be much more efficient because you won’t experience pervasive panic thoughts or other intrusive/adhd type distractions.
- Look at this chart EVERY NIGHT before you go to bed. This prepares your brain for the next day. It will also help you feel much more in control of your life and your goals. You will worry less, and be more excited about the fun things you’ve scheduled. You’ll even start to enjoy the things you used to “dread” or get worried about because you now know they will be efficient, contained, easier, and manageable.
If you can figure out how to schedule your life effectively for when you are a college student, you will have no problem managing your time after you graduate and get your first professional job.
Rozalyn Davis holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S., Chemistry, from Purdue University. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and environmental sustainability.