Updated: Mar 26, 2021
Balancing school and life can be a challenge for many college students. The time commitments involved with attending classes, completing homework, holding down a job and making time for a social life can feel overwhelming. Learning how to be productive so you get your assignments done on time and still have room in your life for other activities can make a big difference.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you start your college journey:
Where you work matters. If you have a private room, it's fairly easy to shut the door and concentrate on what you're doing. However, if you have a roommate, or if you share an apartment or live in a busy (and loud) dorm, it might make more sense to pack up your things and head to the campus to study or get homework done. To create a space even more conducive to productivity, reserve a study room in the library.
Pay attention to when you are most alert during the day (or even the night). Many of us have body cycles that can be tracked. Try to arrange your schedule so homework time takes place during your peak hours. Don't put it off. Concentration and focus can help you get more homework done -- and do it better -- in a shorter amount of time.
Prioritize your assignments to focus on the most important task first. If your math homework is due in two days, work on that before starting the English assignment due next week. Create a calendar using an old-fashioned white board or a productivity app on your phone. Set up reminders on your app to alert you two or three days before something is due.
Get started with the harder assignment first, while you're still relatively fresh. The longer you work, the harder it is to resist distractions. If you struggle with Statistics, that's the assignment to start with. You'll be able to drum up a little more enthusiasm later in your session if you finish with something you like.
Another step in how to be productive is to break down your projects. You don't need to sit down and complete an entire assignment in a single homework session. Rather than cramming everything in just before it's due, create a workflow that allows you to break projects into small, manageable chunks each day for school. This strategy gives you the ability to take a break when you feel stuck on a particular task and switch to another assignment. When you plan ahead, you can complete homework over two or three days (or even over the course of a week or a month for larger projects), rather than scrambling at the last minute.
Use scheduling and to-do apps to break down homework tasks and coordinate on group projects. There are also time management apps that help you keep track of your productivity so you can identify and eliminate problem behaviors. Planning ahead and developing good study habits is essential in helping you get your work done more quickly, leaving time for other pursuits as you kick off your first year of college.