I’m going to travel back one year to when I was an undergraduate student. My schedule changed drastically during my junior and senior year of undergrad but three things remained the same: I was a full-time student (taking at least five classes), I worked approximately 20 hours a week and I participated in collegiate track and field.

During my senior year I ran into some financial struggles. I decided to get a part time job at a women’s apparel store. As a student-athlete, I do not recommend working in retail. Standing for long periods causes a strain on your legs and back. Also, working at a women’s apparel store meant that I had to look professional (and not tired as hell) an hour after vigorous training. Quick Tip: Opt for the “sit-down” job.

Create a Schedule That Fits Your Lifestyle

My first tip for time management is to schedule your day with regards to your mode of operation. If you are a morning person, you may want to attend classes in the morning and work the evening shift. Night owls may want to work during the day and attend classes at night. It is difficult for many student-athletes to work during the day because it conflicts with afternoon practice times. I found it best to attend classes in the morning, train during the afternoon, and work the evening shift.

I recommend creating a daily schedule before registering for classes to ensure there are no time conflicts between work, practice and classes. Keep in mind upper division classes are offered less frequently than lower division classes. Some classes may only be offered once a semester. If your number one goal is to graduate, which it should be, you will have to be flexible. Most jobs are understanding of school restrictions so focus on the bigger picture.

Utilize an Agenda

One of my biggest tips on time management is to utilize a daily agenda or journal. At the beginning of every semester, I purchase a new agenda that I will take everywhere. (Here are a few links to cute ones that I would buy: Target, Nordstrom, Etsy) I write everything in this agenda. I jot down what time I plan to wake up, which foods I will eat, what time I should leave the house, what I will work on during my free time, which order I will complete each homework assignments, etc. Literally every minute of my day is accounted for and written in my planner.

When Did I Do My Homework?

Simply stated, I did all of my homework on the days that I did not have work. On my busiest days, I did not have time to do homework until 10pm. I could not work effectively past 12pm so, to compensate for the lost time, I completed homework assignments in advance. I was an English major so completing homework in advance just meant reading ahead. If I was ever behind in my readings, I used the weekends to catch up.

To be honest, I liked having a hectic schedule because I did not have time to procrastinate. Of course there were times where practice ran late and, consequently, I was late to work. There were days where I slept through the alarm for my 8 am class like a hibernating bear. However, tailoring my schedule to fit my personal needs and documenting my detailed schedule in my agenda kept me on track. Even if things did not go according to my plan, I had a guideline to take care of important tasks and obligations.

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