Heavy is the head that wears the crown. For those who know the power and duress that comes from serving as your fraternity’s president, they also know that the hardest part of managing an organization of brothers is not only commanding the respect of tens to hundreds of members, but also to managing one’s own time and schedule. Often the responsibilities of a chapter president can be in line with that of a head of a thriving small business. The only exception in this case is that your “employees” aren’t professionals, you aren’t paying them, and in truth they will only choose to follow your vision and direction through respect and deference.
This role will inevitably be stressful, but what is easy to forget is that, despite the enormity of this position, a fraternity president is still a student. And as a student, the highest priority is not to one’s chapter or fraternity, but first to one’s academic career. When confronted by the time constraints and duties of being your chapter’s president, it’s important to remember why you’re at your school in the first place: to get an education. Time management can be a hard skill to master, as our days are frequently filled by an ever-changing list of new tasks, priorities, goals, and deadlines. However, with great power comes great responsibility, to your chapter and ultimately to yourself.
For your inspiration, OmegaFi is here to give you 5 Steps to Managing Your Time as a Fraternity President. This list will help you keep your grades and your hair as you navigate your way through social engagement and your academic responsibilities.
4. Create a Block Schedule and Don’t Skip
When creating a class schedule (specifically when we want to create more free time) we tend to do one of two things. First, we look at our required coursework and attempt to front-load our schedules with classes in a way that gives us the most days off from class. This might be choosing only classes that are on Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to give yourself a four-day weekend every week. The downside is that you’ll more than likely sit in class all day on those Tuesdays and Thursdays with a tortuous amount of homework to do on your days off. The second option usually involves picking up as many easy online classes as possible, allowing you to work on your assignments at your own pace and avoid having to go to class. However, the downside to this schedule can mean less face-to-face interaction and instruction from your professor. When creating a new schedule, compromise is key.
As a fraternity president, late nights will be commonplace. Therefore, it’s advised to choose a schedule that works best for a block schedule in the morning and ends in early afternoon with a day off at the end of the week to catch up on your coursework. For instance, the optimal schedule would be a Monday-Thursday setup starting at 10am and ending between 2 and 4pm. This will give you frequent exposure to your classmates and teachers, starts late enough in the morning for you to sleep in, and gives you the rest of the afternoon into the night to study, work on homework, and do the work necessary for your chapter’s social calendar.
With that said, do not skip class. No matter how smart or prepared for the class you are, skipping is a dangerous precedent to set, as it nearly always creates a snowball effect. Consistency is key to success, so get yourself in the habit of getting to class on time and prepared.
3. Choose Your Classes Wisely (Don’t be Hero)
For some of you in the role of fraternity president of your chapter, you may be taking a difficult major. In fact, you may be taking two difficult majors. Whether it’s business finance, accounting, engineering, or—god forbid—premed, it’s important to know yourself and what you can handle when choosing your classes at the beginning of the semester. In this sense, if you are a business administration major, and you know that the year you’ll be serving as president will mean that you’ll be required to take eight difficult and extensive classes, it may be wise to cut through the load a bit by padding on two difficult core classes and two required electives in order to give yourself some peace of mind. The key here is to set yourself up for success at the outset by anticipating your approaching workload and ensuring that you will not be overwhelmed by either your coursework or fraternal responsibilities.
2. Make a Detailed Schedule and Follow It to the Letter
After you’ve got your class schedule set up, it’s important to plan out everything you can in order to ensure success and not waste time. This means taking all those syllabi that get passed out on the first day of class, going through them a few times after your professor walks you through, and committing every assignment, quiz, or exam deadline to a digital calendar (for instance Google calendar or iCalendar) in order to ensure you’ve got clear reminders for everything coming up in class. It’d also be wise to designate a study time that works around your class schedule and gives you an allotted amount of time to prepare for approaching exams and assignments. The use of a detailed schedule can also be helpful in social engagement entries and deadlines for your chapter’s program calendar. However, the key in creating a detailed schedule is to follow it. Although there will always be an unexpected occurrence that throws you off of your schedule, in order to assure proper time management success, always do your best to get back on schedule rather than letting one instance throw your entire day out of whack.
1. When It’s Study Time, Shut Out Everything Else
Perhaps the double-edged sword of this golden internet age is the fact that although we have an unprecedented amount of information at our fingertips, we also have an unprecedented amount of distraction. With social media serving as the leading figure of this distraction when preparing to sit down and study, focus. This means that despite the urge to check your twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, in order to ensure success at whatever it is you’re doing, put your phone down. Don’t put the phone face down next to you either, as its presence will only make you more curious to pick it up and see if you’ve got a notification. After so many years, our ears have been trained like Pavlovian dogs to perceive any ding or vibration as coming from our own devices. The best practice in avoiding this temptation is two-fold. First, put your phone on do-not-disturb and if you want to go even further, put it in airplane mode, then move it out of sight. Put it in a drawer, a backpack, or hidden in some other way. For the majority of our lives there are few tried and true emergencies, so if you make clear that between 7pm and 9pm you will be in the library studying, people around will recognize your schedule and learn to work around it. The second piece of advice is to give yourself a small break in between. Although this takes self-discipline, give yourself 10 minutes to poke around Youtube for every 50 minutes of studying. It’ll give you an outlet for your boredom; just be sure to get back to work.
We all have 24 hours in a day, and after taking away 8 hours for sleep, that still gives us 16 hours for breakfast, lunch, dinner, school, work, and fun. It’s plenty of time if we manage it correctly, and the worst thing you can do is waste it.
If you’ve got any helpful time-management tips or just want to share your own experiences on being a fraternity president, comment below on our 4 Steps to Managing Your Time as a Fraternity President.