Hey loves,

How many times have you been sitting at your desk at night stressing out because you had way too many deadlines/tests to study for/projects due for the next day? Every time you promise yourself that you are going to manage your time better. And then it occurs again. It had happened to me too. But over the past year, I learned a lot about planning, time management and procrastinating. So today, I’m going to share some hacks with you!

1. Use an agenda

This thing has saved my life multiple times. My memory is garbage most of the time so when a project or test get assigned to me, the first thing I’ll do is write it down. That way I won’t forget about it. Another perk of using an agenda is having an overview of your deadlines on hand. We’ll talk about schedules and having an overview on assignments in a minute, but an agenda is an ideal form when you walk around a lot or study at other places that your dorm/ at home. I prefer the agenda app on my phone, because I always have my phone with me anyways and I can put notifications on for important deadlines. I do like having an actual paper agenda too, so I can cross out the things I have already done and so I have a backup when my phone crashes. But you can decide for yourself what fits you best!

autumn, fall, and cozy image coffee, glasses, and study image

2. Make a week planning

I began doing this when I first started university and haven’t stopped doing it since. A week planner gives you an overview of all the things you must do that week. It also allows you to plan out your hours, so you don’t waste too much time doing nothing. I like to begin with coloring in my class schedule, so I know when I’m not in my dorm. Then I start filling up the spare time with the most important deadlines, after that the things that are important but not urgent (like vocabulary words that need to be revised), and lastly the things that are urgent but unimportant (for example: putting the garbage bags outside) and the tasks that are neither urgent nor important (for example cleaning my dorm room). This is what works for me, but you’re free to fill it in any other way that works the best
for you! I like to print my week planner out and hang them up somewhere where I pass often but you can always set it as the screensaver of your computer.

journal, school, and bullet journal image school supplies, aesthetic, and pinterest image

3. Make a month/semester planning

This one is not as obvious as the other ones, but it is surprisingly helpful, especially if you’re in college/ university. I like making a semester planning to see which months are going to be really busy and which are going to be calmer. That way, I can plan better and know which tasks or deadlines should be priorities. For example: If I must read a book by the end of November and I see that November itself is going to be a busy month, I can schedule in the reading in October. That way, you won’t be cramming all your work into 2 weeks and you can do a better job spacing them out evenly.

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4. To-do lists

To do list are the basics of planning. They are so widely loved because they are easy to make and you can find them in many forms: in your bullet journal, on post-it notes, on your laptop, in apps on your phone,... They are great to visualize all the tasks you must do in one day. A to-do list is one of the places where you can easily combine deadlines and tasks for school/ work but also chores or other things that need to be done. They are also great for motivation. It’s so satisfying to cross out everything you have done, so you can see all the things you have accomplished that day. But just because everything is smashed together on one list, you can easily forget what’s important and what is not. That is why I recommend you do not paste your whole room full of post-it notes with to-do- list but rather only use them when you have a really busy day.

black, bullet, and dark image study, college, and book image

5. Plan in the fun times

When planning out a week, we tend to forget the times you need to have a break.Studying and planning are important, but time management doesn’t mean you have to be with your nose in the books 24/7. You’ll need a break! If it’s eating dinner, going out with friends, sleeping or just scrolling through We Heart It. If you just fill up your schedule with studying all the time, you will procrastinate at some point and lose many precious hours. That’s why it’s important to plan in the times you’ll eat, go out, ... Give yourself some time to relax and plan in some ‘catch- up hours’. These are the times that you can work on things that were announced last minute or things that you didn’t finish during the scheduled hours. If you planned in an hour like that but you don’t have anything to catch up to than congratulations, you just unlocked some extra free time! ◡̈

autumn, book, and fall image friends image

6. Be flexible with your time

Making a schedule is important for good time management, but your schedule should not become a sacred document that you can’t change. It’s okay if something doesn’t work out like you thought it would, if something takes more or less time, ... These things will happen and there’s no reason to panic. Just reschedule as fast as you can so you get these things done anyway. But what if you come home from class and are too tired to do anything? Never do ‘just nothing for one night’. If you’re too tired, take a nap and start again after that. If you still feel like you have no energy than shorten whatever you wanted to do. Read one chapter instead of two. Summarize the first 20 slides instead of the whole powerpoint. The most important thing is that you do something!

study, school, and college image autumn, book, and coffee image

7. I’m a procrastinator HELP

Procrastination is a real problem. Almost everyone struggles with it, so it’s pretty normal. That, of course, doesn’t mean that it is good. First, find out why exactly are you procrastinating. Do you not like the subject? Is it so too much and do you think you can’t handle it? Is it too difficult? Do you keep procrastinating because you are a perfectionist? Now you know why you procrastinate, we can find a solution for it!

If you do not like the subject: Try making it fun. Use a lot of colors while your summarizing, use pretty paper, reward yourself with something small (some candy, singing to your favorite song, a five-minute break...) Reading it out loud also helps because it forces you to be concentrated.

If it is a lot of work and you think you can’t do it: First of all, you can do this! Many have done it before you, so why would you fail? Try as hard as you can, that’s all you ask of yourself. If a task is really large or there are a lot of chapters to read, it can be quite overwhelming. Try to cut it into little pieces and do everything step by step!

If it is too difficult: You are probably capable of way more than you think, so if something seems hard that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If you really don’t understand a particular chapter, ask! Your teacher or professor will probably be glad to help you. If you think that’s too scary, ask a friend. You can also find a lot of things explained in a clear way on YouTube!

If you are a perfectionist: perfectionist tend to procrastinate because they feel a project is overwhelming and they can’t do it perfectly. Therefore, they just don’t start at all. Obviously, that is not a good solution. Just try to do something, begin writing and don’t stop. It doesn’t have to be perfect immediately and you can always rewrite or delete stuff. Like Jodi Picoult once said “You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.”

bullet, student, and ideas image Image by Mara Jo

You don’t have to all the things I listed in this article of course. Just find out what works for you. I hope you liked this article and learned some things to use in your everyday life! I’ll see you in my next article!

Lots of love, Mara

Mara Jo
Mara Jo

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This article was written by @marasmolders on the We Heart It Writers Team.