Is the back-to-school stress getting to you? All-night cram sessions and excessive caffeine consumption are less than distant memories from the April exam season past. You know you want to make the most of this school year, but when you already have to choose between school work, sleep, part-time jobs, and a social life – but what if you want to fit in another thing? What if that thing is a business you want to run on campus? You’re full of ideas, just not full of time!
When you find your energy running low and you’re wondering how you’ll keep your head above water, thinking, “How am I ever going to have the time to manage it all?” Boldgrid swoops in with the tips to save the day!
Have you noticed there are a few students who always seem to have everything under control? Not only are they getting straight A’s, but they never appear stressed or over-worked. You may be wondering what they’re doing differently. The secret is no secret at all. It just takes planning and establishing standard operating procedures around how you use technology and spend your time. The same way you run a business is how you can manage your course-load, your social life, and so much more. Here are a few old-fashioned tricks you can still use today to help you reach your educational and business goals this year.
Save Some Mental Energy With a Research Wiki
As a student you’re getting bombarded with research and writing assignments all day. How can you keep all of these various snippets and pages and chapters of text organized? Not only do you have to read all of this stuff, you need to create your own insights about them to impress your professors.
Wikis are old school. But one of the most popular websites in the world, Wikipedia, proves that wikis are still viable for their ability to organize and categorize information. Did you know you can create your own personal wiki for managing projects, research, or creative ideas?
You can actually use the same exact system that Wikipedia uses. It’s called MediaWiki. It’s free and open-source and can be installed on virtually any web hosting platform. Furthermore, if you want your wiki to be private, you can use a program like MAMP to run your wiki on your computer.
How does having a wiki help you focus? Placing all of the information about your project or research paper into your wiki gets it off your mind and into a system you can refer to later. This means you save some mental energy and avoid the mental fog that can result from over-exertion. Don’t forget that your brain is like a muscle. It will get stronger when you use it, but can also tire out.
Get Your Files Under Control
You’ll never succeed with a campus business and handling schoolwork and having a social life and maybe sleeping in once in a while if you have files scattered all over your workspace. Get yourself an organization scheme that works for you and stick to it.
If you have too many files and folders scattered about, you’ll have trouble concentrating on work you need to do and might get behind on unpaid bills and tasks. As you’ll see in the video below, simply having an inbox to capture important documents to be filed away later can save you from the mental shock of a messy office.
Have a Different Email Account For Different Senders
You can actually have a different email account for different purposes. Is that crazy? Take a moment to consider the benefits. Imagine if every time you had to sign up for a service or get a free PDF you can use a special email account just for those unimportant notifications. Imagine further that you had a different inbox for friends and family. Likely, if you’re in school, you already have a school email account. Keep that for school-related tasks only. Set up another email account for personal items and then another for business-related items.
In some cases, these separate inboxes are referred to as sender filters, but they’re much more than that. Having different mailboxes for different administrative areas of your life can help you avoid digital clutter so you can focus on more important tasks.
Yes, you can set up email filters in your email app. But it takes time to set up filter parameters and then you have to test them. And sometimes they still don’t work right! Having different email addresses for different purposes will save you a lot of time and energy.
Get a Task Manager
You may think task managers are reserved for development teams at high tech companies, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The same procedures used at the big companies are easily applicable to you and yours needs.
You can use Sprint planning to divide up your hefty course work and manage large projects, you can use tagging features to tag individuals in group projects, you can use calendars to handle your social and work calendars. Every task manager has different purposes, but Notion is a great example of an all-inclusive task manager with a ton of templates and allows you to make multiple workspaces. Plus, it’s free!
Set up Slack Channels
Setting up a Slack channel for your friends, your group projects, or to join in with your colleagues for your part-time job is a great way to communicate effectively with groups of people. You can run the app on your phone or computer, so it’s always accessible. Any ideas on the go for your group project? Ping your group! Saw something hilarious in the campus library? Message your friends! Need to switch a shift? Post to your team! Slack lets you create multiple workspaces and easily flip between them. Once you’re done with a group project, delete the workspace to keep your workspaces clean.
Own Your Own Piece of The Internet
Having your own domain name and website is like carving out a small piece of the Internet just for you and your business. You might be thinking: well, I have a lot of followers on Instagram, can’t I just market to them? Sure you can! But pairing your successful Instagram with a website or direct channel to you will help elevate your personal brand. When you’re applying to summer jobs or post-graduation jobs, having a website with your portfolio, blogs, podcast, whatever it is you do on the side, is a great way to stand out in applications.
You also have the opportunity to build yourself an email list and grow your network and following. The true value of an email list is the ownership factor. Your email list is yours forever. As social platforms rise and fall, you may lose connection with your followers. But with email marketing, you get to market to your subscribers in the way you deem appropriate. This means that when you’re looking for a job post-grad, you can send out an email campaign to your followers!
Setting up a website is a simple enough process:
- Get a domain name
- Build a site
- Embed an email marketing sign up form (like through MailChimp)
- Start creating valuable content
- Direct your social media followers to your website
- Promote your hard work and build your personal brand!
When you have your own domain and website, it’s like owning a small country where you make the rules. Considering how often the Internet landscape shifts and changes direction, having a space where you make the rules is a very good thing.
There are so many things you can do to help manage your school-work-life-entrepreneur balance. It’s not easy and it’s okay to try new things and not know exactly which direction you’re headed. All of the above will help you manage whatever it is you choose to do. The rest is up to you!