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Time Management: The Essay Writing/Life Balance

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big_clockOkay, so it’s senior year and you have approximately one billion things on your plate. Not only do you have school at least six hours a day, but you also have all of your after school activities, sports, homework…maybe even a part-time job.

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With everything going on in your life, how are you supposed to find the time to write your college application essay? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think. With these simple time management tricks, you will dig up pockets of time you never knew you had, learn to use every hour of your day wisely, and maybe even find a little time to spare! (OITNB marathons do need to be finished, after all.)

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Plan Out Your Day

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Make a schedule of everything you would like to get accomplished during your day (we recommend doing this either the night before, or even a full week in advance).. Map out room for classes, after school activities work and any other obligations — and then add in time for essay-writing. An essay writing slot could consist of just an hour or two a day set aside to brainstorm, free write or play with your draft. Hours add up fast, and  a few hours a week can go a long way.

Take a Break

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To keep your focus, take short breaks in between writing. Use this time to take a quick walk, check your messages, or get a snack (keep those energy levels up!). Plan your breaks so they’re short and contained. Watching a documentary on Netflix is not “a break” (though we do recommend that during non-essay writing time). One or two Beyonce videos (excluding Lemonade, obvs) should be enough to do the trick.

Turn off Your Phone

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We know. It’s hard. PHONES ARE LIFE. Yours is probably an extension of your arm that you only put down before you hop in the shower or dive into a swimming pool (and tech accessory companies are already trying to find workarounds for those scenarios). But we promise — you will live if you turn off your phone for an hour. Not only will you survive, you will thrive. Start by trying a single hour without your electronic devices on blast. Disconnect from the internet while you type out your essay. You will be amazed by the number of times you instinctively  itch to check your Twitter account, and also by the time you have to write when the ability to scroll through your feeds is not there.

Eat Well

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We love a bowl of mac and cheese as much as anyone else (maybe even more).  But all the hoopla about the benefits of eating healthy is not just hype. Eating well will actually help improve your energy levels, unlike chowing down on something like candy which, after its initial boost wears off, is bound to make you sluggish. Try eating high-antioxidant foods such as blueberries and dark chocolate, whole grains, fish (hey, sushi is a brain food too), nuts, and please, please don’t skip breakfast!  

Get Your Zzzzz’s

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Sleep is one of those things you don’t think you need more of until you finally feel what it’s like to have enough of it. The difference between your mind’s ability to focus and flourish when it is fully rested versus when you are running on an empty tank is astonishing.Of course, we know what you’re thinking: “How am I supposed to find time to sleep if I already don’t have time to write my essay?” Just trust us. Build 7-8 hours of sleep into your schedule and your whole LIFE will become more efficient. Tasks that would take two hours when you’re tired may only take you an hour to complete after a good night’s rest. Reset your body so you can give all you’ve got to that nifty schedule you made and make the most of every day.

Use Your Free Periods

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Do you have a lunch period or a study hall? Well, instead of gossiping in the cafeteria or heading to the Dairy Queen, use at least one or two free periods a week to work on your college essay. These are also great times to do research on colleges, consult with a guidance counselor for advice, or work your way through the many supplements you have to write. Even if you don’t have a free period, you might be able to find time during the average school day to do some brainstorming or editing. Did you finish the test early? Substitute teacher? Any amount of free time could help you work toward your goal of a fabulous essay.

Now, get to writing and you’ll be done sooner than you think!

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