A Guide to Prioritizing Better in the New Year

note card and a pen

One of the biggest challenges for university students is balancing all their commitments. It can often feel like there are not enough hours in the day for everything, but it’s important to set priorities to ensure you can dedicate enough time to the activities that matter most — that should be your classes and studying, even though it may be tempting to spend more time socializing. Improving prioritization is a great aim for the new year, but you need to have a strategy in place to ensure you’re able to meet your goals. Here are some tips to guide you.

1. Rank Your Responsibilities

At the start of every week, create a to-do list. Put the items in order of importance to ensure you finish the most pressing first. Take into consideration any deadlines, as well as the impact of not completing a task on time, to decide on the order for your list. Try to begin your days with high-priority tasks as much as possible, instead of working on the easiest items first.

2. Split Large Projects into Small Tasks

Big projects often feel too overwhelming to even begin. Make them more manageable by splitting them into smaller tasks. For instance, if you need to write a paper, divide it into sections and aim to do just one part each day.

3. Time-Block Your Day

Split your day into blocks of time and decide what you’ll do during each block according to your priorities. If there are any small gaps in your day, use them for quick tasks on your to-do list.

4. Avoid a Completely Full Schedule

If you assign an activity to every minute of the day, you’re unlikely to be able to finish everything. A task could take longer than you anticipated or something unexpected could crop up. Prepare for these eventualities by including some free time in your schedule.

5. Study in Peace

It will take much longer to finish projects if you’re facing distractions. Don’t allow yourself to do anything unrelated to the task at hand until you’re due a break and put your phone out of reach with notifications turned off. Also choose an appropriate place to study where no one is likely to interrupt you.

6. Remind Yourself of Your Ultimate Goal

As a university student, your main goal is likely to gain a degree. Bearing this in mind when you’re struggling with motivation should help put you back on track.

7. Reward Yourself

Add small treats into your day, such as breaks to refresh your mind or something tasty to eat. After you check a particularly big item off your list, give yourself a big reward.
You should find you’re able to prioritize better if you’re not constantly facing distractions. Make another goal for this year to move off campus and into your own apartment. You can find Waterloo student housing at myREZ. You’ll have your own room in a five-bedroom apartment with in-suite laundry and blazing-fast WiFi. Book a tour to check out your new space.

Student taking notes

Ready to apply?

Tell us your apartment preferences and we will do everything we can to place you in the unit that’s best for you.

Apply Now