The Big Picture
When I first got to school this semester I put together this hideously beautiful semester long calendar. This calendar included nothing but the basic holidays along with test and project due dates.
I do not go into too much depth with the big picture because there is no point. I don't know what I'll be doing fifteen Sundays from now. If you can remain steadfast in what you do every Sunday for an entire semester the picture starts to become more and more clear. So when fifteen Sundays becomes next Sunday, you'll have an idea of what to do.
The Ideal Week
Creating my ideal week was not hard because I am a creature of habit who does not embrace change. This led me to create a very nice routine I could fall into every week.
The Ideal Week takes all of my commitments into account and gives enough time for each and every one of them. This includes attending class, studying, working out, eating, and of course relaxing. I follow the routine shown in the picture above very closely each and every day. I know that if I spend my time constructively I will reach my goals.
The Daily Plan
As you can see the nitty gritty details of my life need to be reminded to me every day otherwise I will forget them. The exclamation points next to the description of activity represent the urgency and importance of what needs to be done. That is why going to class has a full three exclamations while go to bed before 11 only has one.
I don't see a huge need for every day reminders except for the things that mean the most to me. I will always remember to go study and go to the gym because it is part of my routine, but I won't always remember the smaller things. Things like calling your mom every night so she won't be worried. Seemingly small acts that mean much more.
Implementing the Plan
The three days I chose to sample from are the three days on the weekend. I had been following my weekly schedule very strictly, but not my weekends. So I recorded what I did to better understand how I can be more productive.
Day 1: Friday
The first day I kept track of my routine went pretty much according to plan. I was able to get five hours of work done at the library before I started to prepare for my friend coming into town. When I stopped my school work and started drinking I noticed I was much more likely to deviate from the path I had set. Instead of spending time on Q1 activities I was over in Q3 and Q4.
Day 2: Saturday
As you can see from the log above, I got absolutely nothing done on Saturday. This is pretty typical of me to do. I stress out all week and then don't stress at all on Saturdays. This is OK. I build enough time into my weekdays and Sundays to make up for this loss of a day.
Throughout this semester I have learned so many skill and as a result have grown as a student. Saturdays are the one thing I will not budge on when it comes to being what is considered a "perfect" student. Armed with my "weekly routine" and all the various study techniques I have learned in this class, I know I can succeed here academically.
Day 3: Sunday
Sundays are by far my most productive days of the week. I think in part to the fact that I get nothing done on Saturday. As you can see above I hardly deviated from Q1 activities all day. Knowing that I will be in the library all Sunday gives me a great deal of comfort knowing that I can now prepare myself for the week.
My Sunday library days give me enough time to sit down and evaluate how I am doing in each one of my classes. Seeing what is due and when is very important to me because of my anxiety. I used to tend to let things go unnoticed until its too late. It was not until I developed my ideal week did I start becoming more and more productive.
Where can I improve?
After looking at how well I have been following my routine or "ideal week" I don't see tons of room for an improvement to the routine. But there is still room for me to grow.
Monday through Thursday is what I consider to be the important part of my week. I have all of my classes on these four days. That means I should be using my other three days to best prepare. Over the past couple of weeks I have kept almost all of my activities in Q1 during those four days. It is over the weekend when I tend to slack off.
Having no class on Friday means that I have an entire day devoted to finishing up my week while professors are still on campus. I think that the best way for me to improve on my routine this semester is to make Fridays more productive. Finishing strong every week on Friday and starting off strong on Sundays is where I can really get ahead.
Lastly I think that each night before bed I should devote time to looking over flashcards and review material. I think the five day study plan is the greatest technique I have learned to succeed in college and this just adds to that. Reviewing material every night makes even the five day study plan easier. And its already so easy to use!!!
Looking forward to next semester
Next semester I want to create an all encompassing super schedule for the whole spring. I am going to collect all of my syllabi the first week and fill out my calendar accordingly. I did a half decent job at creating a big picture this semester and I think that led me to slack off towards the beginning of the semester.
In order to not fall behind you need to get ahead. The easiest way to get ahead is by knowing exactly what your requirements are for each and every week.
Hopefully next semester my ideal week will look pretty similar to this semester. Having such a good routine over the past few weeks has shown how easy it is to excel as a college student. It just takes a little bit of preparation and hard work to be successful at this school.
The aspects of next years ideal week shouldn't change either. I am still going to be taking classes, I will still need to study, and I will still need to be going to the gym. In a way I feel like this semester is already helping me prepare for whatever lies ahead in the spring.
This aspect will change the least from semester to semester. I still believe that following the ideal week is the most important part of college time management, but the nitty gritty details are important too. I just don't see myself changing how I use my reminders on my phone. I have about five things I need to get done every day and the reminders can help me take care of that.
To conclude this learning exhibit I just want to talk about how I have grown as a student by using these techniques. Following a strict weekly schedule has done wonders for my academics. I think that finding a good routine is the most important thing for me to be successful. This project has shown me the importance of planning way ahead. Before I would eat until it is too late. Now I am getting out there and going after it.