Are there ways to spend time wisely in one of the busiest moments of your educational career?

In a world focused on speed and an emphasis on rushing to the next thing, time has become more and more valuable as it becomes more and more sparse. 

Especially in college, it seems the amount of time we have for everything is reduced each year. Between classes, extracurriculars and socializing, it’s hard to find time for things you really want to do, whether it be Netflix, going out with friends, or seeing the latest movie. The danger is when we set aside priorities like school and work for those activities, as we often do. 

Here are five ways you can spend your college time more wisely and save time in the long run. This could mean creating more space for a big assignment, which would create more space the night before when students usually end up cramming it all in. 

Wake up earlier 

I debated putting this tip first because I know how cliché and detested it is. Yet I feel that it is one of the most important changes to make. For those that already wake up early, disregard this section, or read it as a reminder of how helpful it is. 

In college, sleeping is one of the most precious hours a student can have. However, this ends up being abused in the form of sleeping in. There’s the typical cycle: staying up late working on homework and sleeping in as much as you possibly can until class starts. 

Yet, waking up just a little earlier can start your day off on the right foot. If you have a class at 2:35 p.m. and wait until noon to wake up, a good portion of the day has already passed. Even if you make the change to wake up 15 or 20 minutes earlier, you can use that time to get ready earlier and have extra time to plan your day. That, in itself, is saving time. 

Do a social activity that is productive

Socializing is also highly important while in college. You can’t be expected to spend every waking minute in class or doing homework. So, taking time, even just once a week, to participate in a productive social activity is using your time wisely. 

Using that time to get coffee with a peer from class that you would like to know better or meeting with a professor to discuss an assignment are two simple ways to productively socialize. 

When it’s homework time, it’s homework time 

This, besides waking up early, is arguably the hardest one to achieve. With school projects, reading and homework being completed online, there are far too many distractions propelling procrastination. YouTube, Netflix, online shopping and even Buzzfeed quizzes badger our screens until we take the bait and abandon our homework. 

Avoiding these constant distractions takes discipline on your own part. However, you, your roommate or friend can commit to keeping each other accountable for a couple of hours while you both work on homework. 

Be involved, but don’t overwork yourself 

Everyone says to get involved in college — to throw yourself into extracurriculars and attend events in order to get the real college experience. But taking this too literally and joining the dance team, singing in choir, being on a chapel band, running for a student body position, joining an intramural, forming a club, and … you get the point. 

All of these areas are productive and beneficial ways to spend your time. It is still very important to be involved in different areas on campus that don’t have to do with homework and classes, but joining so many that you begin to lose sleep, time for yourself and compromise class work is a steep slope. 

It can be easy to think that you can handle all of those activities, but participating in too much will end up being worse in the long run. Know how much time you’re putting forth in extracurriculars before over committing.

Set aside time for the fun stuff … just not all the time 

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is at an all-time high in college. Being surrounded by so many people who are eager to participate in most anything that is not schoolwork is fun, but there needs to be a time when you just say no. 

Going to the movies, a restaurant or a concert not only take up time, but money as well. After a while of saying yes, your homework and your bank account may be crying for help. 

This is when you need to decide what activities are truly important for you to say yes to. A roommate’s birthday dinner? Absolutely. An invite to an expensive concert for a band you don’t love? Probably not.

It’s all about understanding the type of balance that works for you.