Even though I have been in college for only a month, I am finding my day-to-day schedule to be a bit intense: I have taken on two campus leadership positions, joined committees, began volunteering at a local elementary school, and managed a 16 hour workload and a marketing internship. However, what I have found is that when you stress yourself with lots of tasks, you begin to manage your time quite effectively. Here are my tips for managing an overwhelming schedule, and staying sane while doing it!
#1: Wake up earlier.
I never wake up later than 8AM. Sometimes when I know a day is going to be long, I wake up an hour earlier so I don’t have to rush through my morning routine, and so I have more time to think about how I am going to carpe diem.
#2: Eat breakfast.
Even if you aren’t hungry, you need to have something to eat every morning. Make breakfast a time for you to clear your head: eat at the table, not at your laptop. Enjoy your food and try not to think of anything but you!
#3: Plan one fun thing to do.
You may not have time some days to hang out with friends or go to the gym, but at least schedule in something enjoyable for that week. Remember not to lose yourself in the meetings and deadlines. You deserve to have some fun.
#4: Have a “today only” folder.
Take a folder with you to work or school. In the folder, throw in any papers you have to turn in, a pencil, and a pen. At the end of the day your folder will be empty and you can look back on all the work you accomplished. Plus, you’ll never have to search through your bag for a pen again!
#5: Carry a notebook everywhere.
It isn’t a good feeling to be the only one at a class or meeting without a notebook. So, bring a miscellaneous notebook in your bag to jot down grocery lists, notes, or contact information. You never know when you will need to write something down.
#6: Take a mental health day.
Admittedly, I was not very receptive to “mental health days” when I first heard of them. However, if you are an over-scheduled person who always feels a bit pressed for time, realize that burnout may be on the horizon. Ever catch yourself saying, “I’m fine! Just a bit busy. Hey… when’s the last time I watched TV?” Remember to check in with your feelings and your mental and physical health every once and a while and evaluate if you are pushing your limits too far. Try not to take on more than you have to, but if you have already over-committed, allow yourself a day or even just an afternoon to do something you love. Don’t relate your day to productivity. You should not have to be productive to feel good about yourself.
#7: Dress well.
In the words of Oscar Wilde, “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.” On days when I know I will be in contact with many people, or on exam days, I always dress up. Do your hair, touch up your makeup, and don a nice outfit. It’s magical what a simple outfit can do for your outlook on your successful life.
The top tip I can give anyone feeling overwhelmed is to halt taking on any new projects or responsibilities. Unfortunately, life can become an unavoidable responsibility. So, I urge you to schedule, plan, and make lists. Reward yourself after trying days, and stay connected with your friends, family, and loved ones. Life can move too fast when you are overloaded, so make sure you keep yourself grounded in your purpose.