Its that time of year when life just gets crazy. Balancing school, social life, a decent sleep schedule, staying fit and possibly an internship is incredibly difficult. Trust me, I know that life can sometimes get in the way of the things we find most important. Take me and blogging for example…. I barely have had time to write. That’s why I’ve enlisted the help of a fellow writer to share her seven tips for balancing everything on your plate!
1. Know Your Limits
We all want to be able to do everything all at once, but in reality a 24-hour day only allows us to accomplish so much! The first step to time management is recognizing your limits. In a University setting, it is fairly straightforward to know the limit of classes to take. Your school should have a standard amount of credits that students take on average…follow that! Don’t always try to be a superstar and take that extra class, because, coming from experience, that extra bit could really put a working student over the edge!
If you are involved with clubs on campus, or outside of school, be frank with your club members about your time constraints. By letting them know early on, you can ensure that you don’t overcommit yourself to the organization.
When it comes to your internship, or job, I stick with the same philosophy: be upfront with your employer about how many hours per week you can contribute without overextending yourself.
Lastly, social life! In order to keep balanced this semester I recommend you prioritize where social life fits into your schedule. Make time for your family and friends, but remember what you deem most important out of all your responsibilities and make sure you are devoting enough time to that!
2. Write It All Down
Whether on your phone, in your planner, written on your bulletin board, or even on your hand, write it down! As a working student, you are overwhelmed with tasks, meetings, and deadlines. Make space in your brain to retain more knowledge from your classes and internship; rather than needing to remember that appointment you have next Tuesday!
I always start by filling out my planner with my set work and class schedule, along with weekly club meetings and appointments. (*Pro Tip: I write down my Professor’s Office Hours in my planner as if they are set meetings. This gets me in the habit of going to see them.) Then, I schedule in time to study, sleep, and workout. I find it easier to accomplish everything I need to do in a day, if I approach it with a plan. Lastly, it always helps me to write down what social plans I agreed to, and when I have a gap of free time to hangout. This will help you remember what you already planned, and make it easier to tell people exactly the times you are available!
3. Stay Focused
When life gets busy, we tend to just go through the motions in order to get through the day, and we forget about the goals we set out to achieve. This semester you may have forgotten how much you wanted to raise your GPA, or you may have lost sight of the goal you wanted to achieve by the end of your internship, or what you hoped you could accomplish with your club.
So, to stay focused write down your goals and keep them in a place you look at everyday. Have it be your bathroom mirror or your ceiling, seeing your goals written out will help you stay focused. When you are focused on the end result, you will tackle your daily tasks with much more vigor and enthusiasm!
4. Be Proactive
Be proactive and form study groups in your classes as early as possible. If you play a role in forming the group, you will likely have a say in when the group meets (hence, you can pick a time that fits your schedule)!
Being proactive at your internship is critical for success. Especially if you want to get hired after you graduate! Ask inquisitive and unique questions at work whenever you can. Your employer will take note of your excited and ambitious attitude. Also, be proactive in how you approach the social aspect of your office. Take the time to get to know the people in your office, learn about their jobs, and how they contribute to the business. It will make you feel more of a part of the team, rather than just an intern!
5. Practice Healthy Lifestyle
Getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and staying active are key components to leading a balanced semester. Neurosurgery and physiological Professor Fernando Gomez at UCLA states that, “diet, exercise and sleep have the potential to alter our mental function and brain health.” So all you have to do is get enough sleep and eat nutritious food–that’s easy, right?
Yes! Use the other tools listed in this article to help you achieve a more balanced, healthy life. Be proactive and meal prep, write down your workout schedule and schedule in sleep time! You’ll see a change in the way your body handles your long days filled with class, work, friends, and long nights of studying!
6. Stay Present
Whether you are at work, in class, attending a club event, or just on the phone with a friend from home, stay present! Focusing on the present allows you to work more efficiently, retain more knowledge, and have more genuine interactions with others!
Practice being present by utilizing deep breathing techniques when your mind wanders, schedule in breaks to let your mind relax, and let go of what is not serving you in that moment. I promise you will be more productive, if you remember to stay present!
7. Practice Self-Care
In a 15-week semester, it is easy to burnout if you don’t make time for yourself. Self-care is vital to success, as your mind needs to unwind and recover. Also, Wellness Coach Elizabeth Scott comments that self-care “is good for you inside and out” as it “can prevent chronic stress from damaging your health.” So, whether your self-care activity includes a luxurious day at the spa or merely a movie night in bed, the important thing is just that you do it!