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Get Organized: How Students Manage Their Busy Schedules

By Lizz Panchyk

Each semester requires an entirely new routine; you’ve got new classes, new work schedules, new routes and meanwhile, you’re still trying to manage your social life. But how do we keep up? Each student will have a different way of coping with their schedules and making sure everything gets done (hopefully on time).

There are also tons of different ways to keep track of assignments. Of course, we each have a Moodle calendar, but beyond that, there’s Google Calendar, the Apple Reminders app, and even the choice of a handwritten notebook or planner. It doesn’t matter which you use, as long as it works for you.

According to the blog site University of the People (a site that includes blogs with advice for college students and those starting their career search), there are many ways that college students can manage their time besides making a calendar. They suggest cutting phone screen time (which would honestly be a good idea for all of us), and breaking up big tasks into smaller ones. This will help you not only to focus, but to set goals for yourself, and you can use a rewards system to motivate yourself. “By fulfilling these small and plentiful tasks, you gain momentum and already go into the day with a sense of accomplishment,” they say.

Truth is, not everyone lives by a schedule in college. You may come and go as you please. This is the case for first-year physical education major Nikta Keypour. She lives by the “it is what it is” policy. “I’m personally more of a go with the flow type person,” she said, “because I feel like you just have to adjust on your own. But I do think writing down what you need to get done was the biggest thing that helped me.”

An example of how the notes app can be used to keep track of assignments and to-dos.

Sometimes it is easier to organize all your thoughts if you write them down - and this goes for planning too. Planning allows for time that is made to accomplish particular tasks or goals, even if it’s as simple as responding to an email or attending a campus event. This set aside time gives you the opportunity to get other things done. For example, if you set aside one task for yourself and it takes less time than you anticipated, you now have that additional time to knock out another task while you’ve still got the motivation.

If you like to keep yourself more organized, you may have multiple ways of managing your schedule like Julia Lund, a sophomore communications major (with a concentration in media studies). “It helps to have everything written down in multiple places as I am always so busy and will often look to the thing that is most accessible,” she said. “I am a very task-oriented person and to have everything written somewhere really helps me keep on track. If I get something done, I then get to check it on my list. It’s almost like a rewards system.”

I personally keep everything in my notes app on my phone. I distribute assignments to do on specific days so that I get everything done without overwhelming myself with too many assignments at once. For bigger projects or papers, I make a separate note with all the dates in order, which of course are subject to change. If I’m really struggling to keep track of everything during a busy week, I resort to the old-fashioned pen and paper. I stick it on my wall in Post-its and rip them off when the task is completed. Scheduling this way has worked for me since the spring semester of my first year (three years ago) and I plan to keep it this way. I don’t know what I'd do without some kind of organization.

If you don’t have a specific tool that you use, let this inspire you! There are so many ways you can keep up with your busy schedule and still manage to make time for yourself and your social life. Time management is one of the most important tools you can possess in college, and once you organize that schedule, you might find some peace and relief and keep yourself from falling behind on work and assignments.

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