Everyone who has taken their athletic career to the college ranks has experienced the challenge of time management in one way or another. The pressures of academic success, athletic competition, finding yourself in a new phase of life, and managing a social life are all compounded in the little world that is your college campus. More than ever before, it is up to you, and you only, to make sure all of your priorities are accounted for. In order to manage time effectively, it is essential that you establish a routine, set weekly goals, and stay organized.
Three ways to improve time management for athletes
Establish a Routine
One of the greatest lessons everyone finds in college is how they learn. Your college courses are likely to be far more independently driven than that of your high school classes, and it will be on you to retain knowledge and prepare for exams. In the same way that you will learn how you can best learn and operate from an academic perspective, you will need to figure out the same in regards to your daily life.
With the new responsibilities that you have on your plate in regards to simply taking care of yourself as a college freshman, you’ll have to learn how to stay consistent. establishing a routine to help manage your time will allow you the opportunity to build healthy habits for all aspects of your life.
Get a planner or a big calendar and lay out the timeline of your week—practice schedule, classes, workouts, etc. With the empty space around the immovable aspects of your weekly schedule, plan out bits of your day to take care of the little things that you may otherwise struggle to make time for. Meal prepping, extra studying, relaxation, and recovery for example. Also, be sure to include free-time for fun with friends into your time management routine. You can do everything perfectly to succeed in school and sports, but you’ll miss out on many opportunities if your social life is neglected.
Set Weekly Goals
Setting attainable goals on a weekly basis is another great way to manage time. As you build out and schedule your routine, include small accomplishments such as 30-minute study sessions, or showing up to every class early. It is a common misconception that “achieving goals” is always some massive feat. In reality, setting and achieving simple goals on a weekly basis is not just a way to help manage your time effectively, but it’s a way to improve upon the confidence you have in yourself to reach your bigger goals.
This is an exceptionally healthy habit that you will thank yourself for establishing early on in adulthood. Setting and achieving weekly goals offers the satisfaction that you are completing every task you need to, while also helping to fill the gaps of your routine and improve upon your time-management skills.
After discussing the necessity of establishing a routine and remaining consistent, this may sound redundant. The point here, though, rather than harping on scheduling out your week, is in regards to physical organization. Mundane realities of being a student athlete—cleaning up around your apartment, finding the notes you took in class, or grocery shopping for example—are what tend to derail time management.
If you can keep up with these nuances of life on your own, you’ll never have to worry about them throwing off your routine. Let’s expand on the notes from class example; If you take handwritten notes, buy a notebook for each one of your courses and keep them in an organized fashion on your desk. If you prefer to use your computer, take the time early in the semester to build folders for each course and carefully label everything you add into them. These may sound like silly, no-brainer tips, but it is these little details of life as a student athlete that are far too often overlooked.
If you want to get the most out of your collegiate career from an academic, athletic, and social perspective, establishing high-level time-management skills will be essential. Allow yourself the time to find and build a routine that works best for you, set weekly goals that you can achieve regularly, and stay organized in order to stay on top of your studies and training.
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