Joining Greek life, meeting roommates that become your best friends, and having independence — experiences like these make your college years some of the best of your life.
With so many opportunities for fun and socialization, it’s easy to get distracted from your school work.
In fact, recent studies show that as many as 95% of college students procrastinate.
While you don’t want to miss out on a good time, you also don’t want to be scrambling to get a semester’s worth of work done in one week at the end of the semester.
Remember, it’s not always about working harder, but working smarter. These college life hacks can help you do just that.
Having the right strategy to getting your work done can help you get a lot more done without running yourself into the ground.
To avoid cramming at the last minute, try out some of these college life hacks that will make you more productive.
1. Set daily goals
Simply setting a goal is one of our favorite college life hacks to help you be more productive and focused.
Having daily goals can help you make sure that you’re making the most out of every day.
Start each day with at least one specific task that you want to complete. This will give you a manageable goal, and help you to stay on top of your to-do list.
2. Maintain a to-do list
Speaking of your to-do list, make sure to have one of those.
Every college student needs a to-do list.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of tools out there to help create and manage your to-do-list.
With apps like RememberTheMilk and Toodledo, you won’t have to worry about writing your list down somewhere and losing it. Once you make an account, you can access your list from any device.
This is important because a to-do list is only useful if you can access it.
Not only that, but you can set up reminders for tasks on your lists. No more due dates sneaking up on you!
3. Learn a new productivity tool
While to-do list apps are great, they’re only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to productivity tools.
There are tons of free productivity tools to help you with scheduling, note taking, collaboration, and more. These tools can help you stay organized, which will also save you time.
Try out some new tools, and see what works best for you.
4. Speed up recorded lectures
Recording lectures can be a great way to review material that was covered in class.
But, let’s face it. Sometimes, professors can talk really slow.
To save some time, try using a tool like Audacity, which will let you speed up the rate at which you listen to recorded audio.
By speeding up recorded lectures, you could listen to a 60-minute lecture in 45 minutes. And when you’re in college, every minute counts!
5. Take hand-written notes
Not all of our college life hacks require technology.
Apps and technology can be a big help, but sometimes there’s just no replacement for good, old-fashioned pen and paper.
Studies show that taking handwritten notes actually helps you remember material more effectively. Not only that, but students who took notes with pen and paper recalled the material in more depth than students who used a laptop.
Try leaving your laptop in your dorm, and head to your lecture with a spiral notebook and a pen. You may be surprised at what a difference it can make!
6. Eliminate distractions
Number six on our list of college life hacks might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to your success.
You might think you do your best work when you’re writing a term paper, catching up on Netflix, and texting your best friend all at the same time.
According to scientific research, though, you probably don’t.
It turns out that multi-tasking can reduce your productivity by up to 40%.
Instead of trying to do everything all at once, find a quiet space to work, turn off your phone, and try to focus on one thing at a time.
If you have a hard time not reaching for your phone, try leaving it charging in another room while you study.
You can also try studying somewhere without Wi-Fi to avoid the temptation to surf the web.
7. Try the Pomodoro method to time management
If our college life hacks about eliminating distractions and focusing on one task at a time sounded impossible, you might want to try out the Pomodoro method.
This method is designed to keep you focused by doing work in small increments.
Here’s how it works:
Pick a task that you need to do, and then set a timer for 25 minutes. For the next 25 minutes, work on that task, and that task only.
If you think of something else you need to do, write it down, and go back to the task you’re focusing on.
At the end of the 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break to do whatever you want. Then, set another 25-minute timer, and get back at it.
Lather, rinse, repeat!
By working in shorter, focused spurts, you’ll get work done more quickly.
If you find yourself getting bored, or hitting a road block with your task, feel free to shift to a different task for the next 25-minute increment.
8. Organize your workspace
It’s a lot easier to get work done when you’re working in a space that’s conducive to productivity.
Take some time to organize your desk in a way that works for you.
The less time that you spend looking for the materials you need to get your work done, the more time you can spend on actually being productive.
9. Make time to exercise
Focusing on your studies in college requires expending a lot of mental energy.
That said, it’s important to recognize that your mind and body are connected.
Research shows that regular exercise makes you mentally sharper and more productive. This means that, every once in a while, you need to take a break from your desk and get your heart rate up.
Running not your speed? No worries! There are plenty of ways to exercise.
No worries! There are plenty of ways to exercise.
Try going for a brisk walk, or maybe do some yoga. There are tons of unique exercises you can do, no matter what kind of shape you’re in.
10. Eat well
Another important way to take care of your body is by eating well.
It is well documented that poor nutrition can impair school performance.
Junk food may be cheap and convenient, but it’s no replacement for a well-balanced diet. Also, you may not be a morning person, but skipping breakfast is not a good idea.
Even if you’re not much of a cook, there are lots of easy, nutritious recipes you can learn to make. Not to mention, cooking for yourself can help save a lot of money!
11. Get better sleep with a nightly routine
Pulling and all-nighter might seem like a good way to get your work done. Not only that, but colleges with 24-hour libraries almost seem to encourage this strategy.
The bottom line, however, is that no amount of coffee can substitute for a good night’s sleep.
Successful people typically have nightly routines that help them relax. There are a lot of good ways to wind down at night.
Unplug your electronics, read for twenty minutes, and have a cup of herbal tea.
Avoid sleeping with the television or radio on. This can prevent your body from getting the deep sleep it needs.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that helps you relax.
12. The most important of all college life hacks: Take time to relax and de-stress
Ultimately, no matter how good at time management you are, there’s only so much you can do in one day.
Not only that but trying to do too much can actually be counter-productive.
Working yourself too hard can lead to stress. While a certain level of stress can be healthy, excessive stress can impair your health by weakening your immune system and raising your blood pressure.
You’re not doing yourself any favors if you work yourself until you’re sick.
It’s important to take time to reduce your stress. However, how you do this is up to you.
Maybe you like watching Netflix or going to the movies. Some people decompress by hanging out with friends, while others would rather be alone.
If you’ve been paying attention to this list of college life hacks, you may have noticed that the key is doing whatever works for you.
There’s no right way to relax. The only wrong approach is taking no time to relax at all.
College should be a time of making new memories and new friends. However, it’s key to remember that you’re attending college to learn new skills and earn a degree.
At the end of the day, these college life hacks are all about balance.
Every college student needs to learn how to manage their workload while also making time for the important experiences that help make college so memorable.
Trying out some of these college life hacks can be a great way to balance work and pleasure while you’re in college.
What do you think?
What are some college life hacks that have helped you be more productive?
Let us know in the comments below!