We all can have the best of intentions: working a part time job to pay student loans, taking on an unpaid internship “just for the experience”, or even going to night school to earn that Master’s or PhD. But what happens when you realize you’ve taken on too much? How do you begin to prioritize and deconflict your schedule?
ONE: WRITE THINGS DOWN
Having a planner (or even one of those newfangled bullet journals) is key to time management and making sure you don’t accidentally lose track of tasks due in the future (…or even yesterday). In fact, when you’re writing things down, include the time it will take to travel there (to and from the destination) and the time it will take to prepare. This will allow you to have an accurate picture of your free and busy time and allow you to plan accordingly – meaning you’ll be less likely to try and do too much while also being more realistic on what you can achieve in a day. Win-win!
TWO: 2 BIRDS, ONE STONE
It’s always beneficial to pursue activities that have applications in your personal and professional life. “Align your professional and personal goals for maximum efficiency,” author Chris Guillebeau says. It’s better to take a class in photography (that’ll help your marketing job at work and your side photography business) than it would be to take a course in Chinese without planning to visit Asia. It’s a good idea to remove activities that only benefit one side (except for one personal hobby – never prevent yourself from having a hobby!).
THREE: DON’T BLOW YOURSELF OFF
If you’re balancing more plates than you have hands for, it’s safe to say that you’re not taking time for yourself either. #treatyoself may be an overused hashtag, but it’s implications are real. Taking the time for some self-care, whether it’s a long run on a Saturday morning, a killer bargain hunting session on Wednesday night, or simply catching up on the last season of Scandal, is critical to balancing your life!
Taking a few simple steps towards organization and self-awareness will allow you to reign your schedule and your life back in and start focusing on what matters most again.