How To Make College Less Hectic

I have had so many people tell me that I’ll never have more free time than I do as a college student. Which, naturally, terrifies me for the future, because I barely get anything done now. If society expects me to become a fully functional adult (and I get the feeling it does), I’ve got some bad news for them.

Between classwork, homework, work-work, friends, family, a relationship, a debate team, a choir, and a blog, I think it’s safe to say I lead a busy life. And with all that stuff happening, I feel at least a little hectic pretty much all the time. I doubt I’m alone. Despite all that “free time,” college schedules are demanding – but you can stay calm within them by streamlining your life in a few simple tweaks.

How To Make College Less Hectic

I think we can all agree that college is a little crazy, and I think we could all benefit from making it a little less so.

Sleep Schedule

Sleeping is the highlight of my day, but sadly, it’s the first thing on the chopping block when my schedule gets hectic. Setting a solid bedtime is a goal of mine (and an upcoming 7 day challenge), and when I stick to it, I feel awesome. I also love waking up even ten minutes earlier than I need to. I mean, not the actual feeling, but the effects – it gives me time to sit down and make sure I’m prepared for my day. (Because nothing makes a stressful day worse than knowing you overslept and didn’t put on deodorant that morning, and worrying that you smell.)

Write it down

What’s “it”? Literally everything. It sounds pretty easy and that’s because it is. If there’s something you need to do – as simple as take the trash out, as important as submitting a job application – write it down and, if necessary, when you need to do it by. When you get that panicky “I know I’m forgetting something!” feeling later, you can check the list. I find that my bullet journal is the best place for these tasks, but do what works for you, so long as you always have it on-hand.

Keep Your Space Tidy

I’m very much a “place for everything” person, so long as that place is the floor. Basically, I have a hard time with this one. But having a dedicated shelf for the books and notebooks you’re not using that day, and keeping important papers from piling up with unimportant ones… That’s not so hard. And it’s going to cut down on those panicked moments of “I know I saw it somewhere!”

When my desk is tidy, I feel like I have more control over my life. I probably don't, but I feel like it.

When my desk is tidy, I feel like I have more control over my life. I probably don’t, but I feel like it.

Get on top of your email

My amazing roommate Morgan told me to do this a few months ago and I was like “nah, that’s crazy talk.” Per usual, she was right and it’s awesome. If I get an email I know I need to follow up on while out and about, I give it a star until I can get it answered. Anything else either gets read and archived, or read and deleted. And if it’s junk mail, I make sure to unsubscribe before I delete, to keep my inbox clear of clutter. You’d be amazed how freeing an empty inbox can be!

Consolidate your planning

Speaking of writing things down, I know people who have six planners. Six. I respect their tenacity and share their love of office supplies, but I have two questions for them.

  1. Why?
  2. How?

Whether you’re trying to get everything into every planner, or keeping separate planners for separate things, it just seems like the easiest way to lose track of something. I like to consolidate, so I put events into Google Calendar and everything else into my bullet journal, which has essentially streamlined/perfected my life. Bam. Done.

This is one of my favorite BuJo spreads from October - and it's not just pretty, it keeps me focused.

This is one of my favorite BuJo spreads from October – and it’s not just pretty, it keeps me focused.

Look Out for #1 (That’s you, by the way)

Here’s a fact about you: You’re awesome and you deserve to feel good about yourself and in your body. Every. Single. Day. For the rest of your life. It’s important to get all your necessary stuff done, it’s important to be there for your friends, but it’s also so important to be good to yourself.
You can do this in luxurious ways, like spa days and hot tea and super soft blankets – self care as the cushy side of the internet sees it.
But taking care of yourself is a lot more utilitarian sometimes. I mentioned getting enough sleep before, but drinking enough water, eating healthy, staying fit – they’re more important than pampering. No matter what Donna Meagle says, treating yourself isn’t enough if your basic needs aren’t met, so do right by you.

Still feeling stressed?

That’s okay! Some stress is healthy, it pushes you to get stuff done. But that positive stress doesn’t include the stress you don’t need, the kind from unread emails and sleepless nights. That’s what you should focus on cutting down on. And if you need a little extra boost, here are some posts that might help:

Stress Free SemesterBullet JournalApps for College StudentsProcrastinate Better

  • I feel you! I think I wrote it as much for myself as everyone else,at this point. We can do this!

  • Love this! I definitely need this, especially since finals are coming up and there’s been so much on my plate.
    XO Paige

  • Good point! Moving between classes and subjects definitely takes its toll.

  • Miriam

    It’s true that you have more free time in college, but it is also more hectic. In a traditional job (40 hrs/wk), you have less free time, but it’s also less hectic because you’re not moving around to as many places. It’s a trade-off.