How to Balance School, Work and Play

Hey friends! Happy Thursday! I'm currently finishing up the semester and doing so, I'm taking a good, long look at how I spent this semester and how I prioritized my time, in both good and bad ways. 

Life is a pretty overwhelming thing, and especially in college; when you're trying to balance 5 hours of class a day, multiple hours of work, being a human, being a good friend, and being a good child and still feeling like you have time to give to clubs. When you're super ambitious and like filling your hours to the brim, there are times where you have to press pause and check in and see where your balance is. I do my best to balance everything, and here are my tips on how you can too! 

1. Calendars on calendars on calendars. 

I literally have two physical planners, a phone calendar, my Google Calendar, and my iCal and I use all of them. Keeping up with my personal schedule, TA'ing, Gamma Phi stuff, my homework and exams, seeing family, and deadlines often overwhelms me to see it all in one single planner. I find that using one just for sorority stuff and homework is helpful and using one for personal and work events is also helpful! My Google Calendar is my favorite though, since it syncs to my phone and I can color code by calendar! 

2. Reminders for evvvvverything. 

Sometimes, it's easier to write down exactly when you're going to do something than adding it to a to-do list. I've been known to even schedule in my showers, laundry runs and grocery runs because otherwise it won't happen and I'll end up doing something else. 

3. It's okay to say no, cancel, or push back. 

Everyone around you is probably in the same boat. If you and your friends are stressed, it's okay to postpone a lunch meeting until after finals or even cancel if need be. Remember that people will understand, but also continue to remember to make an effort!

4. Use your free time wisely! 

Sometimes having a free afternoon can seem like a great time to fool around and not get anything done, but it's nice to have longer chunks of time to do lots of smaller things! I like to keep Sunday mornings free to have the option to sleep in or grab lunch before I do work during the afternoons. 

5. Even small chunks of time are great!

I use even my ten to fifteen minute breaks between classes sometimes to get things done- small tasks like picking up my packages, mailing a check or organizing my planner are things that are usually on my to-do list, so using short breaks in the day is so useful for getting little tasks done!

6. Schedule in me time

One of the biggest tips I ever got from a fellow sister is to take at least 30 minutes of me time a day. She even told me to schedule it into my calendar so I won't ignore it. The me time can be a nap, a coffee break, or just resting. As someone that tends to overbook myself with others, it's nice to be able to know I have time to myself too. 

7. Feel free to leave your calendar blank too!

There are going to times where things don't go as planned, or even where you just need a break. I try to leave my Fridays as free as possible without scheduling anything so I can use them as spontaneous days- whether I end up doing something fun or productive, it's nice to have a big chunk of time to be free to do what I want or need! 

8. Declutter.

I've found I actually get more overwhelmed when I don't take the time to clean my room. If my space is messy, it's hard to focus on tasks at hand. The best way for me to feel like I can take on the world is if my space is clutter free and focused. 

9. Brain Dumps

One thing I swear by is keeping a Brain Dump. Whenever my mind feels cluttered or I can't focus or sleep, I open my phone or laptop (whichever is nearest) and just write everything on my mind- whether it's a task that needs to get done or an emotion that won't budge. Often times, I'll end up with a list of 10-15 tasks that take all of two minutes to do, so it's nice to be able to have a master list of things to knock out when I want to feel accomplished. Sometimes, if it's a list of things I need to ask others or remind others to do (#delegation), I'll write the point person's name next to whatever it is that needs to be done. 

10. Remember to take a step back.

Sometimes it's really easy to get caught up in lots of minor details, and things feel overwhelming. The best thing to do is take a step back and re-evaluate. Where are your priorities at this given moment? Is this where you want them to be? How can you reshift? Sometimes, the most important priority should be yourself. Sometimes, taking a weekend or night off to just let loose, have fun and focus on yourself is just what you need.

How do you balance all your priorities?