How I Budget My Time As A College Student in 2022

How I Budget My Time As A College Student

Welcome to this post, “How I Budget My Time As A College Student in 2022”!

I started my freshman year of college a little over a month ago and what a crazy month it has been. If you’re interested in hearing why, check out this post. It feels like things are finally starting to slow down and I’m able to get back to my normal activities.

This weekend has been fairly productive for me so far. I got a lot of business work done, but I also spent some time reflecting on my current obligations. I was reviewing the clubs that I joined so far and the ones I still want to get involved in, and realized that I needed to map everything out.

So I put together a list of everything I’m already involved in or want to be involved in. Then, I sorted each item into a different category. Finally, I budgeted a set amount of time each week for each obligation. The result was this mess of scribbles in my journal:

How I Budget My Time As A College Student

Rather than leave you to decipher that mess, I figured this was the prime opportunity to write a blog post about how I budget my time as a college student. As always, I’m writing this post mostly to help myself better articulate my ideas and draw conclusions about the thoughts I’ve had.

If this kind of post sounds interesting to you, keep reading to find out how I budget my time as a college student!

My Life Buckets

I’m not exactly sure who I first heard the term “life buckets” from, but it has been something I have stuck with ever since. Life buckets are essentially every major area of your life. For most people they are things like school, work, family, businesses, and other extracurricular activities.

I organize my life into 7 broad life buckets which are pretty similar to what I’m about to go over. The only difference is that the following list is more so categories of my commitments, not necessarily how I organize my life. Nonetheless, I will be using 7 life buckets to describe my commitments and the amount of time I budget to each.

Each life bucket is made up of 3 commitments. I find that the number 3 is generally a good amount of things to be involved in across each area of your life.

I’m going to start this post by sharing the 7 life buckets, the 3 smaller commitments that make up each, and time I dedicate to each life bucket every week.

Academics

Obviously the whole reason behind college is academics so I should probably start here. I wouldn’t exactly call my school “academically prestigious”. While any university has earned its right to educate students and give degrees, we all know there are varying levels of difficulty amongst universities. As a student with a 4.0+ GPA and a top 10% SAT score, I was accepted to much more academically prestigious schools. Ultimately I chose this school for it’s overall college experience, affordability, and spiritual opportunities. Nonetheless, college has been fairly easy for me so far in terms of academics.

I’m majoring in finance, have a minor in entrepreneurship, and plan to obtain a MBA in my 4th year at college. While I’m not doing the bare minimum by any means, this is still a fairly light course load. As any type of business major, your coursework will likely be much easier than any medical, engineering, or law students.

With all of that said, I spend roughly 20 hours a week on academics. I am taking 16 credit hours which translates to 16 hours of time where I am actually in class throughout the week. I get most of my assignments and homework done in class while the professors are lecturing. Usually I only spend around 4 additional hours a week doing any type of school work outside the classroom.

Honors

While my college at the basic level is fairly easy, I did join the honors program to challenge myself a bit more. The honors program itself consists of a few extra classes, projects, and a minimum GPA requirement to stay in the program. This doesn’t really add much to my plate in terms of a time commitment since it is already built into my school schedule.

However, I also joined a few other clubs and programs within the honors college to enhance my experience. I’m working on joining two honors-specific clubs. One is a business club for honors students and the other is NSCS (National Society of Collegiate Scholars). I joined a 10-week professional development program through the honors college that will enhance my networking, interviewing, and other professional skills.

All in all, I estimate that these honors involvements add roughly 5 hours a week to my schedule. Nothing crazy by any means, but it does add a little extra challenge.

Clubs

I also joined three clubs that are more similar to my major/passions of mine. The first is a finance and economics club, the second is a entrepreneurial club called IDEA, and the third is a business club called DECA.

These are the clubs that I will be most interested in pursing throughout my time at college. I’m looking to get really involved in each whether that means competing in projects or applying for leadership positions. I’m in the finance and economics club mentee program which means I’m basically a lower level officer position. This position does add quite a few hours a week in terms of a time commitment.

Overall, I spend roughly 10 hours a week on clubs. A majority of this time is in meetings, however there a few hours every week where I have to work on projects outside of the meetings.

Businesses

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I am involved in several businesses/side hustles/passion projects (whatever you like to call them).

The first of which is my freelancing business on Fiverr which is my main breadwinner. I’ve been on Fiverr for almost exactly 2 years and still making pretty good money from it. The next is this blog you are reading right now. Teenfinancialfreedom.com has been around for over 2 years and is just starting to make some consistent income which is amazing. Finally, I consider real estate to be the third business I’m working on because I’m currently working toward property management before I buy my first property.

While all of these are fairly big commitments, it only takes me a combined 15 hours a week to run all of them. I’ve spent the last 2 years setting up teams and systems for each so that they are almost automatic. I only spend about 5 hours each week for each business making sure that things are going smoothly.

Jobs/Industry Experience

While currently I am not super involved with any of what I’m about to tell you, I have been in the past and I also plan to be more involved in the future. For the most part I consider myself to be a self-employed entrepreneur, but I have taken a few flexible gigs here and there to make some money and gain experience in the industry.

The first thing I plan to really involved in this next spring is a program called Tax Help Colorado. I did this last year for community service and it was really cool getting to prepare tax returns for people in the community. I also worked for a tax preparation and resolution firm briefly over the summer and plan to return at some point in the future. Finally, I pursued a financial advisor/insurance salesman position this summer and have it on the backburner for now.

While for right now these aren’t taking up much time, I plan to allocate roughly 5 hours a week to these various jobs in the coming months.

Spiritual Life

As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons why I chose my specific college was for spiritual opportunities. As a Christian, it is really important to me to stay involved in various activities that strengthen my faith.

Luckily I’m surrounded by these opportunities and get to take advantage of them. I’ve been regularly attending a Sunday church service off-campus, two worship events on-campus, and a smaller bible study group each week.

All in all, these events take up roughly 5 hours of time each week.

Fun

I also can’t forget to remind myself to have fun in college! In an effort to do this, I’ve tried to stay involved with a few different groups that I enjoy.

One of the first things I got involved in was a intramural flag football team which has been a ton of fun even though we’ve lost every game. I’ve also tried to go support our school sports as a part of the student section. Finally, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for fun trips to go on with the outdoor recreation club.

All of these activities have taken around 10 hours a week so far. Flag football season will be ending soon though, so I may need to join another team or find another way to stay involved.

Total Weekly Time Budget

If you were paying attention, you may have noticed that everything I just mentioned only adds up to 70 hours a week. While that is a lot of time, there are 168 hours in a week. So what happened to other almost 100 hours? Well, the rest of the time goes toward sleeping, eating, working out, hanging out with friends/family, and a small amount of free time. I included everything on the following table so you can get a better idea of how it all comes together.

Life BucketHours Per Week
Academics20
Honors5
Clubs10
Businesses15
Jobs/Industry Experience5
Spiritual Life5
Fun10
Sleep56
Eating/Working Out17
Family/Friends20
Free Time5
Total168

How I Budget My Time As A College Student

If guessing by now you want me to get into some practical advice. I’ve shared all sorts of information about my personal life, but not much of it probably applies to yours. So, I’ll share my 3 biggest tips on how exactly I budget my time as a college student.

Calendar

First and foremost, you must have a good calendar system in place. And when I say good, I mean incredibly good. I live off of my calendar. Here’s what a regular week looks like in my calendar:

How I Budget My Time As A College Student

The first thing you’ll notice is the wide variety of color in my calendar. You’ll notice that I have a separate calendar for each life bucket. This keeps things neat and organized. Then, you’ll probably notice the time blocking system that I use to give myself time to work on each life bucket throughout the week. Finally, if you look at the top you’ll see that I use some all-day events to do day theming (when you dedicate each day of the week to a specific life bucket). While this may seem overwhelming to set up, I assure you it is 100% necessary to functioning at a high level with this many commitments.

Systems

How I Budget My Time As A College Student

Speaking of functioning at a high level, another thing you’ll need to do is have a good systems in place. Yes, your calendar is one of, if not, the most important part of your productivity system. But, you also should have a task manager, different checklists, and some sort of reflection process set up. I’ve talked about these things before and I will talk about them more in the future so I won’t beat a dead horse here. All I can say is that I’m incredibly grateful to have had these systems set up before college when I really needed to rely on them. I can’t imagine getting thrown in the deep end without having a way to stay afloat. Moral of the story here is, it’s important to have these systems set up before you need them.

Years of Practice

From Best Practice to Next Practice | Signavio

With that said, also know that it will take years of trial and error to get your productivity system set up. I’ve been actively trying to better myself for a little over 2 years at this point. My productivity system has been a work in progress for that entire time. Even to this day, I still don’t think I will ever have the perfect productivity system. However, with years of practice you’ll start to pick up on different tips and tricks that will allow you to take on more and more. Just know that it’s unlikely you’ll ever get the perfect system set up, but start today and do the best you can.

If you’re looking for more time management tips, check out this post.

The Takeaway

That’s it! That’s how I budget my time as a college student. The keys here are to use a calendar, have good systems set up, and understand that it is going to take years of practice. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, share it with someone who needs it. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns down below. Otherwise, best of luck on your experience in college!

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