Easy ways to prioritize your time between work, school, and fun are not impossible to find. If there are easy-to-find easy ways to prioritize your time between work, school, and fun, there will be few premature college leavers, fewer financially dependent people below the age of fifty years, and more successful entrepreneurs on Earth. Let us examine some ways.
* Establish the goal(s) in your life
If your goal is just to finish college, get a job and move on in life, you will have more time for fun without feeling guilty about not trying harder in your studies.
If your goal is to work toward the highest degree that you can, you would devote the bulk of your time to studies and forget fun unless it has something to do with your goals. You will also live within your means or apply for financial aid so that you minimize your need to work and support yourself through college.
If you have returned to college from full time work to obtain a degree and get as far as you can in education, having been given this second chance, you would likely place school as top priority and put aside work and fun where possible.
Although there is no clear way of determining exactly how many hours you should devote to work, school, and fun, the majority of people will place school as top priority in their college life and hence spend the bulk of their time purposefully pursuing activities in that direction.
* Make a seven-day time table.
Man is a creature of habit, so follow a weekly time table. Man is also a total being. It is important that there is some form of work, play and rest in a seven-day period. A student’s work is his studies. There is no clear line between some form of work and play in certain circumstances. A sculptor’s work could be his play as he enjoys shaping art out of the semi-solid medium. Similarly, have an adventurous outlook and a positive attitude towards your studies and you will find something else taking shape out of your studies.
Plan in blocks to include the pockets of time in between sessions, before and after college hours and from Mondays through the weekends. By including the weekends, you will then be able to work in any spare time you can comfortably devote to a few hours of work, visit your family and have some fun, as well as plan for any overflow of activities during the weekdays.
* Keep your paying work or job to the weekends.
Plan to complete your study-related activities during the weekdays and your part-time work and fun activities from the last session of study-related activities. It is best not to have work during the weekdays as that would interfere with your concentration on school-related matters and break the flow of events during the time meant for studies. Similarly, chances that you will study on Sunday morning are slim, as your mind is likely to be switched off from studies from Saturday morning after the last ‘official’ study-related session.
* Rest, an individual but important factor.
Make it a habit to turn in at approximately the same time every night and ensure that your body and mind get the rest it needs. Sufficient and quality time for rest at night is important so that you will be well-rested for the next day’s challenge. Work within your natural body rhythms as well. For example, if you study best in the cool of the night, turn in earlier and wake up earlier to work in the quiet hours of the morning. Make sure you do not have interrupted sleep cycles though, as in the long run, your body will feel the strain and be beaten out of tempo.
If you have dormitory mates, it is best to discuss your individual preferences so that you work out a schedule that does not interfere with your natural body rhythms as well as theirs.
* Fun is a great stress relief – make it a daily affair.
Work in some fun daily. A brief period without study-related matters helps the mind retain its sanity. Meal times are great times for some fun. Steer clear from discussing studies over meals so that the energies are concentrated on giving your brain a well-deserved break and focused on your digestive system. It is well said that a merry heart does good like medicine, so have jokes and mindless chatter if you wish.
Go for a walk or a run or a game some mornings or evenings. A healthy body is important for success in college. Teenagers go through hormonal changes as they approach adulthood, so do not be too perturbed if you put on a few more pounds. Housework can also be some form of exercise. If you have the luxury of staying home or in a rented apartment and have a television and ironing board, you might schedule in a weekend slot for ironing and television. Keep yourself standing so that you are not enticed to the couch and set your alarm clock so that you do not go beyond the allocated time.
If you view partying in its right perspective, it is fine to have fun at parties organised by trusted friends. Keep partying to a night before a scheduled holiday or weekend the next day, and never on a Sunday night, so that you can recover from all the excitement and not upset your weekday study schedule.
* Make use of pockets of time.
You will find yourself waiting for the bus to arrive, for the lecturer or tutor to arrive, for lunch to be served, for the bathroom to be vacant and for a host of other events. If you divide your daily schedule fourteen hour blocks, and you spend waiting five minutes here and there, you find yourself waiting almost an hour for something to happen everyday. If you multiply that by seven, you waste a full seven hours waiting around. Turn those waiting moments into usefulness. Keep a personal data assistant or a note book and pen in your bag. You can spend those precious minutes working on ideas for an assignment.
Make full use of the time between sessions at college that would otherwise be wasted on mindless chatter or daydreaming. If you make it a routine to review and revise the day’s lesson notes while waiting for the next lecture or tutorial to begin, your brains will begin to connect the new information with old ones and you will find understanding your lessons easier as the notes accumulate. Make it a habit to clarify what you have not understood the soonest possible.
The sooner your body is conditioned to the blocks of time spent on the various activities, the easier it is for you to adjust to changes that may come along and not be overwhelmed by a sudden overload of activities. You will also enjoy your college days, earn your well-deserved degree and have no lack of anything during those wonderful college years.