As a fulltime college student and a fledgling entrepreneur, you will encounter a unique set of challenges along the way to fulfilling your goals. You’ll want to take care to avoid overtaxing yourself but at the same time give both aspects of your life the energy and effort you need to for success. We’ve compiled a handy list of tips to help you find balance in your work and schooling.
Identify and Rank Your Goals
Face it: With everything you have to carry right now, you are simply not going to be able to do it all and do it all perfectly. Take some time to set some long-term goals. What do you want to accomplish in a year? In 10 years? Write down those goals and make a timeline for accomplishing them. Then set some short-term goals to break down how you’re going to reach your long-term goals. Focusing on meeting your goals will help you prioritize your activities with the limited time and energy you have.
Plan Your Daily Tasks
Once you’ve identified your long- and short-term goals, you’ll be able to plan your days so you can accomplish the tasks you need to. Remember, time is limited, so prioritize your to-do list and set your tasks to a schedule. Check out this guide to setting a daily schedule that maximizes your productivity. While you’re planning your schedule, don’t forget to schedule yourself some breaks too. All work and no play can take the joy out of accomplishing your goals. Give yourself time to have fun, goof off, and just relax. Your brain can only handle so much thinking at a time. Taking breaks can actually help you be more productive and retain information longer.
Create a Workspace
Having a space set aside to do your work (for both school and business) will help you switch into working mode faster and improve productivity.
Create a space that is dedicated solely to studying and working on your business and make it free from distractions (TV, video games, food—whatever your favorite distractions are). Furnish your space with a computer, paper and pens, and anything else you will need to get your work done. You could also consider an exercise bike with an attached desk, an under-desk elliptical, or a standing desk if you want to maximize your physical fitness while working.
Your physical health has a profound impact on your mental functioning. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are all needed for you to function at your maximum capacity.
You may have learned about basic food groups in elementary school, but there’s more to your diet than that if you’re really looking to maximize thinking power. Believe it or not, there are specific foods and food groups that can improve your brain functioning. You can find a list of several of them here.
To maintain focus and your ability to think quickly and be productive, make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night. It’s easy to say you simply don’t have time and pump yourself full of energy drinks or coffee all day; this is not a good long-term solution, though. To maximize your sleeping time, train yourself to fall asleep quickly. Check out this guide for some practical sleeping tips.
If you find yourself sitting too long in front of a computer screen—either for school or your business—actively take steps to implement a regular exercise routine into your day. It can be as simple as taking 5-minute breaks every hour to do a few jumping jacks or lift some weights or more time-consuming like starting every morning off with a brisk jog to clear your head. For more structured exercise, sign up for a dance or sports class as part of your college schedule. An overly sedentary lifestyle can lead to loss of motivation, buildup of stress, and chronic health problems down the road.
Take Advantage of the Resources Available to You as a Student
There are definite advantages to running a business while you’re still in college. College students get discounts and free access to many resources that you might find helpful for running your business, including Microsoft Office, Amazon Prime (think free shipping), magazine subscriptions, access to scholarly journals, and more. You’ll find a pretty lengthy list here.
In addition to discounts and freebies, you also have access to mentors galore in the form of professors, faculty members, and peers. This is a great time to build connections that will help you enhance and expand your business.
Kill Two Birds with One Stone
Balancing college and your business does not mean you have to keep those parts of your life separated. When you’re choosing topics for papers and research projects, choose topics that relate to your business, and you’ll be making progress in both areas at the same time.
It’s okay to say “no.” When you’re balancing college life and entrepreneurship, there is no doubt that you will be pulled in many directions with demands on your time and resources. Learn to say “no” to the things that don’t help you meet your goals and don’t make you happy. Only fill your life with the things that drive you, that give you motivation and spark your passions. You may need to set some clear boundaries with friends, family, and associates to do this.