How to Manage your Life as a Student - top tips for how to juggle it all: work, school, homework, and a social life - without losing your sanity!

As students, we juggle a lot. Work, classes, homework, clubs, sports, extracurricular activities, volunteering, roommates, family, and friends.

As a college blogger, focusing on helping you excel in your life and studies, I am constantly asked by new college students what the best way is to organize and manage your life. Honestly? There’s a lot that goes into it, so today I’ve partnered with Erin Condren (the company that makes the amazing Erin Condren Life Planners) to share with you my top tips and tricks for how you can manage life as a student.

Let’s get to it!

Get a Nice Planner

Planner front with stickers

Paper planners are a staple in almost every college student’s bag.

If you don’t use a planner everyday, it’s time to get on it. This is definitely the first step in organizing your busy student life.

In this post I am using the beautiful and creative Erin Condren Life Planner. This Life Planner is available in 3 different layouts (here I’m using the vertical one!) and they also have an amazing collection of accessories (stickers, notebooks, bookmarks, oh my!) to add to your collection.

Also, quick side note – they even personalize your Life Planner for free, see the “Dani Dearest” on the cover? So cute.

Not sure which planner is right for you? Check out my Complete Guide to Choosing a Planner here to find your match.

Make Time for the Things You Love

And the people you love.

While you may be happy as a busy bee (I know I am!) you’ll be even happier when that energy is going toward tasks that you genuinely enjoy doing.

Find one or two things that you really love doing, and one or two people to make your top priority. Stick with it. Adding more on your plate may cause you to become overwhelmed and put less effort into everything as a whole. I’d rather put 100% into 2 things than 50% into 4.

This will also improve your work ethic, your ability to prioritize tasks, and your dependability. (Oh hey, look, those are skills you can totally put on a resume!)

Outline Your Month, Then Week

planner monthly with stickers

When I first got into planning, my biggest mistake was not utilizing the monthly view.

Using the monthly calendar that comes with nearly every planner is essential to your life planning. At the beginning of each semester I like to go through my syllabus and write in every assignment due date or big exam date in the monthly calendar. Then, as appointments, meetings, and other important events pop up I toss them in there as well.

At the beginning of each month go through and add in any extra important dates that have been added and update the upcoming month. As you can see, using my adorable Erin Condren Life Planner above, I have incorporated some fun and colorful stickers to make some important dates stand out even more!

Then, copy those dates into the weekly layout. This allows you to have a quick glance at what the month is bringing, as well as a more detailed weekly/daily view so you have no excuses to miss anything.

Sunday nights and Monday mornings are my planning time. Whichever one that I have more time during, which varies by week, I sit down with all my stickers, markers, and my planner and set out my week. Setting goals, writing tasks, figuring out what’s due and how long I need to plan to get it done, including any meetings or important reminders, and writing out any extra tasks I need to stay on top of.

  • Quick tip: Color code! Making a plan for how you will color code your planner really helps to keep things consistent, clean, and clear. Instead of having to write out “Survey Broadcasting & New Media” every time before I write the name of an assignment for that class, I just write it in my red marker and I know what class that is for. The same goes for everything in my life, including my personal life. They all have their own colors. Any other tools that I use (such as Google Calendar or OneNote) also use the same color coding scheme to keep me on track!

Set Goals and Track Them

planner weekly writing

I set goals every single semester, share them with you, then come back to report on how I did. (Check out my goals for this semester here) 

These goals help me to keep in check with myself and how much work I am putting myself through. If I find I am struggling to continue to improve myself, it’s time to reassess and see what’s wrong.

Setting goals also helps to motivate myself to improve and keep going. When I see a tough goal on my list and I’m able to go back and say “I did that” it feels great and like I’m on the right track in my life.

Setting goals has become an essential part of my life as a student by constantly motivating myself to step up and become better.

Learn to Say No

It’s ok not to go out tonight. It’s ok to not join another club. It’s ok to skip that event and do a face mask instead. It’s ok to not do the extra credit. It is okay.

Your 4.5 GPA is not worth staying up until 3am. Take care of yourself, take care of your health, and get some sleep.

Plan in relaxation time if you need to – no that’s not a joke! Write in your planner when you’re going to take a break from work to watch some Netflix, do some yoga, take a nap, go to the gym, or even just generally “relax” and lounge around. This way you have no excuse to not give yourself some free time. You can say – “no, I can’t, I’m busy then” because you are… busy taking care of yourself.

Managing the pile of responsibilities that comes with student life doesn’t have to be overwhelming! With the help of some amazing planning tools, a little motivation, and will power, you’ll be able to conquer it in no time.

What are your tips for new students trying to manage their life? Tell us in the comments!




This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Erin Condren. The opinions and text are all mine.

How to Manage Life as a Student

10 thoughts on “How to Manage Life as a Student

  • April 11, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    It’s so necessary to plan relaxation time! I find when I’m always busy and constantly on the go, I eventually feel drained and experience burnout because I haven’t given myself a break. I’ve heard some people say that kind of balance is overrated and you if you want something back enough you’ll just keep going, but I think if you stop, it allows for more fresh ideas to come to the surface and you’ll be way more productive.

  • April 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Love all of these tips, especially for college students! Being a student can definitely be hard at times, you have to manage so many different things. Between clubs, school work, jobs or internships – it can be A LOT! So planning ahead is super important!

    Love your blog by the way! I have a blog dedicated to career advice and productivity tips for millennials who have recently started working in the real world, feel free to check it out!

    – Kristen

  • April 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Learning to say no is probably the biggest lesson you will learn. Always remember why you are at school and do your best to keep you grades up!

  • April 12, 2017 at 12:58 am

    I agree saying no, is so important. My first years of college I was taking on too much and was starting to feel like I was losing sight to my own personal goals. BTW loving your planner.

  • April 12, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Hie something really helpful for a student like me. Much needed article, all the tips were perfect. Would be waiting for more posts like this.

  • April 12, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Really nice post! I have been using Erin Condren planners since my Freshman year and i have found that they really help to keep me organized, although I don’t utilize the monthly view like I should. My planner for the past two years has been laid out by the hour and I find that really helps me the most with staying on track.

  • April 19, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    As an engineering student, it’s somewhat hard for me to manage life as a student for it just doesn’t take up so much time since I’m more a spontaneous guy, but I’ve learned in engineering that everything should be in order, somehow, somewhat. Being proportionate doesn’t always mean order, some leaned – in or out – may have brought you better in order. Seemingly. Nevertheless, thank you for this awesome read! 🙂

  • June 14, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Setting goals and tracking them is very useful especially during college. Even though you are having a stressful day or you are just tired from all the classes that you’ve been through the day, don’t ever forget your goals and update them everyday if needed. Great article keep it up!

  • June 15, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Setting your goals whether it’s short term or long term is vital because it sets up the pace of how you live your student life. Without having definite goals; college life will be a total mess. Thank you for sharing this :)! Great job!!

  • November 8, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    👍👍Learning to say no is probably the biggest lesson you will learn. Always remember why you are at school and do your best to keep you grades up!😉😉


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