I have the absolute busiest schedule ever this semester. I’m currently taking 18 credit hours, working as a student assistant for one of the university departments, working as a undergraduate teaching assistant, and babysitting about once a week. Add on to that workload that I am also still active in my sorority, which means at least one event a week, plus being involved in scholars, which has a twice a month time commitment. When listening to how crazy this all sounds, everyone tells me I must be insane. Especially when I add in that I am still trying to work out three times a week and not be ridiculously stressed and sleep deprived. Here’s how I’m balancing everything this semester, and how I’ve done similar things in prior semesters.
The first thing to do is to compile a list of ALL of your responsibilities. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. For me this was all three jobs, my classes, sorority events, and workouts. I then make a weekly schedule and add in these events so that I know exactly when I’m busy. I do this every single week. After that, I add in sleep. Yes, that right, I schedule when I am going to sleep. I can be so prone to over committing that if I don’t schedule sleep in, ill agree to group project meetups, babysitting, etc. for late at night or early in the morning. An example week is something like this:
This combines really well with staying supper organized. I do everything I can to make sure I don’t forget things. I keep my planner with me during every class. I use a day designer because I can schedule my time and create a to do list. I also have a monthly calendar that I carry in my backpack as well. This one is super plain and I write in all my major assignments, sorority events, work, appointments, etc and carry the calendar with me so that I always know what I’m doing. I also keep a calendar hanging up at my apartment. It serves the same purpose as my backpack one. However, I also check off the days on this one because there’s something so satisfying to me about knowing I made it past busy days. Finally, I have a weekly calendar. This one is a flip over one that sits on my desk/vanity so that I see it every morning. Now I completely know that four calendars/planners is a little ridiculous….. that’s why I have five. I track all my times in my phone calendar as well because it gives me notifications and I ALWAYS have my phone with me. But seriously, five calendars/planners is crazy. Having a bunch forces me to know what’s going on because I am crazy forgetful. If you can be organized using just one, kudos to you.
Next, I’m super big on self care. So I make this the second thing to consider. It helps me stay sane and calm down when I get stressed. I don’t actually schedule these into my days, but I make them priorities for my free time. I add these in randomly. If I have to spend a few hours on homework one night, then I often put on a sheet mask and some teeth whitening strips. Or if I decide to wait to shower post workout for some reason, then I throw in a hair mask. Basically I try and maximize my time by stacking self care things on.
One big thing for getting through everything is to put effort into my appearance. I’m a big believer of when you look good you feel good. Also, if i’m exhausted i’m much more likely to fall asleep in class when i’m in leggings vs. jeans. With this though, I will point out that i’m not putting on a cute outfit, full face of makeup, and doing my hair EVERY DAY. Honestly most days I throw on a cute athleisure outfit, brush my hair and style it in some form of no heat style, and put on some mascara, brow gel, and lipgloss. I save my all out for days when I know ill have a ton going on.
Finally, I prioritize my health. I try and workout at least three times a week. Not only does this keep me in shape, but it does wonders for my mental health. I am a big fan of Orange Theory and that’s the workout I’m currently doing. I really zone out for an hour and just focus on pushing my limits. Then after class, I feel so happy and energized, even if I was super stressed and exhausted going in.
With health also comes sleep. Even if I have a ton of homework due the next morning, if it is 2 am and I’m not focusing or being productive anymore, I go to bed. I know that I wont retain the information and am thus wasting my time. Missing out on sleep one day also really sets me back the whole week until I can get caught up over the weekend. My goal is always at least 6 hours of sleep. Obviously, I and most people, need more than this. But this is my minimum. It’s enough to get me through the day with a little caffeine but not so little I’m dragging my feet all week.
The third aspect of health is my mental health. While working out makes a huge difference, I also try and schedule in time to relax. For me this is normally at night before I go to bed. I like to either read or watch youtube/Netflix. It’s something I look forward to do every night, and really helps me be more efficient. If I finish everything early, then I get more time to relax.
So, that’s how I balance everything. It’s tricky and annoying, but I’m someone who cant sit still so it works great for me. Hopefully this can help you if you’re as insanely busy as I am.