Planning for success

by Carol Nasr

Most college students share a common struggle that involves planning and organization, which adds to the stress they already experience. To achieve success and gain control of your education, there must be time management, proper planning and good habits to make the process simpler. There are multiple ways to help alleviate stress as a college student, and it is never too late to pick up a new hobby that will make your life so much easier.

After personally getting many of my friends on planning apps and using their calendars, it is safe to say that having a way to get organized and plan is the best thing that you can do for your future self.

Starting a gratitude journal is a straightforward way to rest your mind before a long day or start your morning off fresh and more relaxed, as well as grateful. Thanksgiving does not need to be the only day to count your blessings. The simple habit of being grateful has so many positive effects on your brain chemistry and will help you prioritize what is important to you in life and have a better outlook on your day.

If you would rather reflect in a different manner, there is a method called bullet journaling, another effective form of journaling. By bullet journaling, you are reaping many benefits, such as coping with emotions, planning and prioritizing what’s most important to you, and staying connected with yourself. Bullet journaling may take a lot of work but is worth the aesthetic and gives you a mixture of planning and gratitude all in one.

It’s also never too late to create a planner — my personal favorite — or make a to-do list (imagine the feeling when you check something off). To create a to-do list, grab a paper or a booklet and start writing things you need to do. You could also have different lists for different areas of your life and priorities. Something as simple as a to-do list will help you enjoy your life in the moment and give you many of the same stress-relieving benefits that journaling gives you. According to CNN, “To-do lists can be great tools for decreasing anxiety, providing structure and giving us a record of everything we’ve accomplished in a day.”

A simple easy change you can make without having to pick up new materials or even create a new “habit” is using your calendar app, such as Google Calendar or iCloud calendar. Start by inputting your class schedule and recurring events such as practice or club meetings, then add any other things you have coming up. Some make it extremely specific by incorporating deadlines, time for phone calls, meals, etc. Others just put things they need to show up to, when and where. The best part is you can have different calendars for distinct aspects of your life. Having a way to organize your day, week or month will transform your entire college experience and will prepare you for real life.

Think of all this as decluttering and destressing, a form of self-care. If you do not want to pick up a new habit, you can declutter your life and provide yourself with more room to work on your goals, help yourself and be in the right headspace. Start a planner or a journal to help you make 2024 your year.

Featured Image via Adobe Stock

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