Published: Jan. 23, 2019

As college students, you wear a lot of hats: student, employee/intern, teammate, family member, friend, significant other. A lot of people count on you, and with so many things going on all at once, it can be hard to strike a balance. Here are five tips to help you find the right school-work-life balance that works for you.

Manage your time

Having good time-management skills will not only help you now but post-graduation. Reduce stress by keeping track of your time and using it to your advantage. Here are some activities to try if you’re looking to improve your time management skills.

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  • Plan out your schedule for the week including time for homework and other assignments, work and social events. Look for areas where you may be overbooked.
  • Create weekly to-do lists to keep track of your assignments and other tasks.
  • Set goals and deadlines that are realistic. For instance, maybe you decide to write a paragraph each day for your report.
  • Break larger projects into smaller, more manageable pieces to avoid procrastinating.
  • Identify common distractions that keep you from accomplishing tasks. Allow yourself to take short breaks (5–20 minutes to check Instagram or watch an episode on Netflix) before beginning your next task.

If you’d like to learn more tips and skills for managing your time, join the free Get it Done workshop offered by Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS).

Know your limitations, learn to say “no”

Ever feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it? When we try to please everyone around us we can often find ourselves over-committed, stressed and exhausted.

Take some time to look at your commitments and see which ones can be put on hold and which ones you can say no to for right now. Passing on dinner tonight with friends might feel hard to do in the moment, but if it gives you extra time to finish up a project you’ve been avoiding you’ll thank yourself later.

Ask for help

We all like to think we can do things on our own, but sometimes it’s worth reaching out for help. If you’re struggling in class, try out tutoring or stop by your professors’ office hours. Feeling overwhelmed at work? Talk to your manager about your school schedule and adjusting your hours to find a better fit.

If you’re not sure where to begin, reach out to your own support system including your friends and family for help or advice.

On-campus resources

CU has a variety of resources to help you find the right balance:

Celebrate small wins

Graduation is the end-goal for most college students, and while it’s a big accomplishment, it isn’t the only accomplishment worth noting during your time here at CU.

Instead of focusing all of your attention on walking across the commencement stage, be sure to celebrate the small wins you make along the way. Whether you got a better grade on an exam, landed that internship or made it through a tough week, take some time to celebrate the little victories. Not only will it help you feel a greater sense of accomplishment, but it can also motivate you to keep going.

Self-care is not selfish

The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself. This includes meeting your basic needs like eating snacks and meals and getting a good night’s sleep (7–9 hours), but it also includes taking time for yourself.

Make time to visit with friends, enjoy a hobby or relax by yourself. Spending some time away from work and school may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to take breaks and focus on things that re-energize you.