Written by Taylor Gjesdal
1 Keep an updated schedule
Whether utilizing a planner or having your schedule accessible online, continuously updating and tracking it can be one of the most helpful ways to stay organized. By knowing what your schedule looks like ahead of time for each week, you can then spend time planning out when you are wanting to complete certain tasks, and when a break might be helpful. Having a planner or other way to visually map out your schedule can also be a helpful way to plan and coordinate with other’s schedules, especially when needing to attend a work meeting or group project meet-up.
2 Work ahead (not procrastinating)
Working ahead can feel like a difficult thing to accomplish, especially if you are already feeling overwhelmed day to day with what all needs to get done. By keeping up with your schedule, and identifying blocks of time when you can work on assignments, you can then look ahead at your syllabi and work schedule and identify what assignments to work on each week and continue working on things ahead of time. Working ahead each week keeps the to-do list short and manageable so that whether it is a school assignment or big task to complete at work, both will be getting done ahead of time rather than past the due date.
3 Prioritize work/assignments
When you prioritize your work and assignments each week, then you are able to identify what things need to get done and when. Prioritizing work and assignments can look like listing things that need to get done in order of importance, closeness of the due date, amount of time it will take or even by level of difficulty. Once you find which type of list is most helpful, maintaining that priority list each week will assist you in staying on track to complete the assignments you have identified as needing to get done first.
4 Get enough sleep
When you are balancing a hectic and overwhelming schedule of both work and school, sleep is often the first thing that is impacted. On average, people are supposed to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night to be able to be well-rested for what the day brings. Often people will stay up late to work on their school assignments or catch up on their work for the day and will end up only getting half the number of hours of sleep they need. This decrease in sleep can then have a significant impact on how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. In order to maintain enough sleep each night, plan for a time in which you will stop working on things (and also allow for a set time to decompress without screen time). Another way to make sure you are getting enough sleep is not working on your school and work tasks in bed, but rather working somewhere else (i.e. kitchen table), so that you are able to relax and fall asleep more quickly.
5 Make time for self-care
Often in addition to sleep, we decrease our self-care time in order to spend more time on the tasks we need to complete. Whether it is spending time with family or friends, going for a walk or watching your favorite movie, self-care can function as a way to give your body and mind a break from all of the work you are getting done each day. An easy way to incorporate more self-care time into your schedule, is by blocking out a specific amount of time each day just for that, or taking a certain amount of time after each task you complete as a break to take care of yourself. Understandably though, when we try and increase time for ourselves and take space from the work we have to complete, we can feel even more overwhelmed. When we feel overwhelmed, we can experience negative self-talk which can look like thoughts such as, “by taking this break you are only creating more work for yourself, and you are already struggling with things.” This negative self-talk can often feel like self-doubt. An important thing you can do for yourself during those times is to examine and hold space for the thoughts without judging them or yourself, as well as responding to those thoughts and the stress you are feeling with acceptance and self-compassion. Increasing self-care time is not an easy task when you already have a lot to get done, but by taking an accepting stance with the stress and thoughts you may have when trying to implement more self-care, the easier it will get over time.