If any of you are like me, then you tend to sign yourself up for the maximum number of activities that you think you can handle. Sometimes you sign onto so many activities, that you forget about important things, like school work. Somehow I manage to involve myself in so many tasks that it gets to be overwhelming, but having to decide which activity to drop is pretty close to impossible. So here are my tips for overcoming an overwhelming schedule.
1. Calendar (or planner) – My Google calendar makes life so much easier. I set aside time specifically to update my calendar with events, meetings, and classes. I personally like to color code events and activities, as well as set reminders for certain activities.
2. Folders – However you save documents, whether it’s through a drive on your computer or a cloud drive, I find it helpful to have folders to help organize your documents. I also find it useful to have folders in my email inbox, it helps to organize my messages (especially when I refuse to delete them) and have easier access to messages I may need.
3. To-Do Lists – I am a fan of the to-do list because I can physically cross off items and the act of crossing items off of my lists helps alleviate the pressures of always having something to do. I typically make two separate lists, one for homework assignments and one for clubs/activities. To-Do lists also help me prioritize tasks and allows me to see which tasks I can put on the back burner and which tasks need to be handled immediately.
4. Limits – You have to know what you can and cannot do. You don’t have to take on every leadership position or always volunteer yourself for extra tasks. Sometimes it is okay to step back and let others take the lead. This can especially give an opportunity to people who may want to take the lead on a certain project or initiative but haven’t had the opportunity because someone has already volunteered to fulfill the role.
5. “Quitting” – In the same way that you have to know when to step back, you also have to know when to step down. Sometimes, being in too many activities can be more stressful than you intended. It is OKAY for you to step away from a club, activity, or task if it crosses the line from a challenging but rewarding to stressful and overbearing.
6. Self Care – Always schedule some time for you. Even though there seems to be fewer and fewer hours in each day, remember that you come first. Save room for time to pause and reflect. Whether you choose to use this time to catch up on a TV show or to just lay in your bed and think, the time that you set aside for yourself can be beneficial to your effectiveness in whatever you do.
It is taking me a long time to master tips 4 & 5, but I am slowly learning how to step back. Developing a sense of how to organize your time doesn’t occur overnight and while all of these tips may not work for you, there are ways in which they can be tweaked to cater to your needs. Maybe none of these tips work for you, but it is important to find out what does work and how can you continue to use this method throughout your years at Bryn Mawr.