Let’s face it: people in college tend to let things slide. We let them fall on the back burner because of a constant “lack of time”.
And the thing that gets left most often? It’s actually one of the most important things. You guessed it: being active!
If anyone knows how to deal with a lack of free time, it’s me. I’m a Health and Physical Education major, varsity track and field athlete, leadership member of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), a peer mentor, and I am also taking 19 credits this semester. So you could say that my schedule is pretty tight.
But here’s the real question: how do I deal with all of the madness?
Answer: very carefully. It doesn’t come easy! I would be lying to you if I said that the answer is simple and you won’t ever be stressed, because you will be from time to time. The only thing that I can guarantee is that you will not have to sacrifice as much as you think to keep it all together.
So here’s the big secret: Schedule your time.
That’s right. It’s as simple as that.
Not always so simple, I know. My schedule changes depending on what day it is. It’s actually pretty complicated, because no two days in a week are the same. Mondays are different from Wednesday, Wednesdays are different from Fridays… The only two days that are the same are Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I know what it’s like to be in constant flux.
Class from 9:00am to 9:50am.
Meeting with my mentee from 10:00am to 10:30am.
Class from 11:00am to 11:50am.
Meeting with my advisor from 12:30pm to 1:00pm.
Class from 1:00pm to 1:50pm.
Class from 2:00pm to 3:50pm …
And then I have practice from 4:00pm to 5:45pm.
Yeah, that’s back-to-back-to-back.
And on the weekends, I’m usually out of town competing with my team.
So how in the world do I fit in time for homework, friends, or just plain old free time?
I SCHEDULE! To start off the day, I wake up at around 7:30am and plan out my whole day in advance. I text myself my schedule and all the different times that I have to be somewhere that day. Once I know what my day looks like, I can see where I have breaks and time to get things done.
Find those times, and use them! For example, since I have small breaks in between classes I try to get as much homework or studying done during those times as possible. I make the most of each minute (my time is precious, after all, and I should treat it that way!).
After classes and practice are done (rolled through that schedule like a boss), I block off at least two hours for me to complete all of the things that I didn’t have a chance to get done earlier in the day. So from around 6:30pm to 9:00pm, I am usually doing homework.
Only after I’ve finished that, I can watch TV, hang out with friends, or just go to sleep!
Again, I would be lying to you if I said that I did that much school work every day. There are times when I am really not feeling the whole homework thing. So here’s the other secret: on those days, I simply don’t do anything. As long as you are disciplined enough to get a majority of your work done for the day or get ahead a little bit, it becomes okay to take a chill day without costing you your grades or your success. All it takes is a little planning ahead!
And there it is right there. That’s the secret to not getting too overwhelmed. Get your work done early so that you can take an evening off here and there to just relax when you inevitably get stressed and tired and are just plain old done. When that happens, let yourself regroup! It’s extremely important to get that time to yourself to refresh mentally.
If I can fit all of that into my schedule, then you can definitely block off a good 45 minutes for physical activity or exercise—I believe in you! Take the time to plan out your day, and I guarantee you that you will find time to squeeze a workout in.
Treat yourself like an athlete and block off your workouts like practices. A short workout is better than no workout at all, and I guarantee you you’ll feel much better after you’re done! (Working out DOES reduce stress levels, after all.)