With the competition for college admission more and more cut-throat, the pressure is on to be a top athlete as well as a top scholar maintaining your GPA and to be involved in other after school activities. Those extra commitments can be beneficial on your college apps, but if not managed properly with time management tips for student athletes, they can end up hurting you by tanking your GPA, causing injuries, or taking away from your social life. If you’re feeling the pressure, check out these tips to manage your time wisely as a student athlete!

1. Prioritize

Managing your priorities is step one to managing your time. Start by making a list of all of your commitments or things that take up your time. Be brutally honest with yourself. If you play an hour of video games everyday before starting your homework, then put video games on the list. Once you have made the list, re-arrange it from things that are the most important to least important. If that seems too difficult, simply arrange them into three categories: Very Important, Important, Not Important. Once you have your list, put it in a place you look at every day. Visualizing the things that are important to you, as well as what is not important to you, helps maintain your focus and keeps distractions to a minimum.

2. Set Step-up Goals

Your list of priorities might have some pretty big ideas, like getting in to your dream college or becoming a starter on your team. Those are great for priorities, so now is the time to decide exactly how to get there. Setting a series of smaller goals makes the action more attainable, and allows you to track your progress as well. For example, if you need to get an “A” on your next Spanish test, set the goal of studying Spanish for an extra 10 minutes a day, nonstop. At first it might be hard to stick to or remember, but once it becomes a part of your routine, your day will feel weird without it. Before you know it, you will meet your goal, and you can move on to the next step! Meeting your goals gives your self esteem a huge boost and makes you want to keep going. When you set smaller goals, you are setting yourself up for success.

3. Plan your Days

Between school, studying, practice, family time, friends, and work, it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, plan out your day, hour by hour. Start with the things you know you can’t change, like school and practice. Those have set times. If you have a job, write in your schedule. Don’t forget to schedule yourself time to eat and sleep. Now, look at the free time left and ask yourself what you can accomplish in those time frames. The 10 minutes between school and getting ready for practice? Is it a quick trip to the trainer for an ankle wrap or time for a quick Vocabulary review? An extra half hour between lunch and afternoon classes could be the ideal time to get started on that college essay you’ve been putting off. When you plan out your days, and really see how much time you can be taking advantage of, suddenly your schedule seems much more open. Or at the very least – you’ll feel accomplished for hitting those small goals.

Use your phone clock app to set reminders throughout the day. This is a great way to stay on top of your daily tasks without going through the whole day and forgetting something.

4. Ask for help…

before it is too late. You know if you are starting to slip in a class before your grades reflect it. You know when you’re slacking on conditioning before the coaches time your sprints. You know when you aren’t eating healthy and getting enough sleep because you are stressed and your body reacts differently. So before you reach the breaking point, reach out to the people around you for help. Ask a friend, honor society club, or a teacher to tutor you. Ask your coach to set up a training plan, and ask a teammate to help motivate you. Ask your parents or guardians to keep you on track with proper meals and sleep habits. Sometimes it is hard to hold ourselves accountable, but there is no shame in asking for help when you need it the most. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how many people would actually love to be a part of your student athlete journey and want to help you!

5. Relax

One of the easiest ways to fall of the track is to try and do everything at once. Just as your cell phone dies after you run 6 apps at the same time for an hour, your battery will die if you don’t give it time to recharge. This can be anything from spending a night at home binge-watching your favorite show, to a night out with friends, or a week long social media break – unplugged vacation. Keep track of your own stress levels, and self assess when it is time to take a break. Then get back to doing what you do best!

We hope you enjoyed these 5 time management tips for student athletes.

For more tips and hints on how to manage your time wisely, ask your coach, guidance counselor, or trainer. Your teammates may even offer great tips that work for them.

Have a great season and keep reaching for your dreams!  

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