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A Little-Known Secret To College Success

September 7, 2011

I recently read a fantastic article about the power of the daily routine, a concept which can be especially powerful to students. Let’s face it, we’ve got a lot of things to do, and often times there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of them. How often have you found yourself up until 2 or 3 in the morning writing a paper? While it’s true that sometimes there’s no escaping such a scenario, other times it’s actually completely avoidable. I personally have wasted hours on Facebook or Netflix, only to realize with horror that I still have a paper to write. Daily routines help you conquer such situations.

Daily routines are all based on the concept of habit. By making a list of the things that you want to accomplish each day, you are much more likely to actually get those things done. It sounds overly simple, but it’s true. This works for accomplishing daily tasks like a homework assignment, as well as long-term goals like losing weight or learning a language. I took a screenwriting class a few years ago, and the number one thing that the professor emphasized is the importance of writing every single day. “If you only are writing crap,” he would say, “then write crap. Eventually you will get it out of your system.” Writing is a perfect example of a scenario where a daily routine is essential. With no pressing deadlines to finish the screenplay I am currently working on, it’s ridiculously easy to procrastinate writing altogether. Most long-term goals are the same way. If we want to accomplish such goals, it’s all about determination and habit. It’s far better to write a page or two a day than it is to write half a move script in one sitting. It’s healthier (and more effective) to exercise for a half hour everyday than to spend four hours at the gym once a week. Daily routines not only help you get things checked off your to-do list, but they also usually lead to better overall results.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a piece of paper (or a word processor) and plan out your basic daily routine. Here’s an example:

6:30 – Wakeup. Get ready for the day

7:30 – Review homework for the day

8 – Head to class

You get the idea. Be sure to plan out each hour of your day, to assure that you don’t “accidentally” end up browsing Netflix’s instant-stream library instead of doing something more productive. Once your routine is planned, don’t beat yourself up if it takes you a while to stick to it. At the same time, don’t make excuses for yourself. Remember, no one is forcing you to have a daily routine. And I can promise you this: you will accomplish more and have extra free time by establishing a daily routine. Want proof? Check out this blog, which documents the daily routines of presidents, authors, and movie stars. See? I told you daily routines were important. Do you have any tips on establishing a daily routine? Leave them in the comments.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. College Eloquence permalink
    September 8, 2011 9:07 am

    One thing that’s key in helping with college is your sleep schedule! So many people don’t realize how important it is to have a good sleep schedule. If you wake up at drastically different times every day, you’re just making it harder on yourself in the long run. If you have an 8am class every other day but classes starting at noon the other days, don’t wake up at 11am for the day you have class at noon. I would wake up no later than 8:30 on the days you have class at noon. It’s close enough that your body gets used to the early wake up and it becomes less and less a struggle. You can’t just “make” yourself a morning person, but every little bit helps!

    • daniel permalink
      September 8, 2011 11:06 am

      That’s a great point. College can make it especially hard to plan a schedule due to having different class-schedules each day, but like you said consistency is the key. We kind of need to train ourselves in order to stick to a decent schedule.

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