Some college students struggle with time management when they have to juggle classes, work, family, friends and homework all in a 24-hour day.
Successful management of free time – such as the minutes or hours between classes – is vital. Here are some ways to do it well:
1. Do homework and study
You can get a lot done even if you have just 30 minutes. For example, start to work on a small part of a large project or finish something easy that you know isn't too time-consuming.
Studying is another great option and it can help your grades as well. An article from the American Psychological Association says studying throughout the day can improve memory retention. You could benefit from this if you spread out your studying during the day rather than doing it all at once.
2. Eat something
During a busy day, you might not have time to eat. If you have a long break, you can use that time to eat a full meal. If you have a short break, you can eat a snack or have a healthy drink to keep up your blood sugar. Eating can help you focus and prevent you from feeling nauseous or getting headaches. See if any of your friends have off during this time and can grab a quick meal. It could become a fun routine to socialize and connect about what you're learning in class.
Always be sure to stay hydrated during the day. Bring along a water bottle and fill it throughout the day.
3. Take a quick nap
A long break might be a good way to catch up on some much-needed rest. A 20-minute catnap can work wonders if you didn’t sleep much the night before. Napping has shown to relieve exhaustion and increase mental alertness.
If you have time to fit in a quick workout – a short run, long walk, yoga or a few reps at the gym – it can help you relax and spark some energy in time for the next class.
5. Work on that to-do list
Your downtime gives you the perfect opportunity to run errands and take care of grocery shopping and other tasks that can take away valuable study or family time later in the day. You might also want to take this time to visit your professor or advisor, answer emails or make phone calls.
No matter what you decide to do with your time, it is always a good idea to have some of the right tools on hand so you can be productive:
- A laptop and a charger. Taking your laptop around with you is a good idea, as it allows you to do research, write a paper or answer emails. Having your charger on hand can save you from the stress of having your laptop die on you.
- A notebook. You never know when you might need to jot down a few notes or make an outline. You can’t always pull out your laptop when you need to, so it is a good idea to have a few sheets of paper ready to use.
- Working pens and a highlighter. If you have a textbook with you, you can highlight important parts of the text, or take additional notes in your notebook.
- Your schedule. Whether you have your schedule in a planner, on a sheet of paper or your phone, it is a good idea to have your schedule on hand. If something else comes up, or if you feel like you forgot something, it is nice to have those notes on hand.
By figuring out the best available time to organize your schedule, you can make a difference for yourself and your academic career.