We all reach that point in our lives where we feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Too much to do, far too little time. My time in college so far has been jam packed with class, clubs, homework, projects and more. There are times when I go a little crazy and feel overwhelmed with so much to do. Rather than let myself drown in all the work, I looked for ways to find peace in the midst of the chaos. Here are some tips on how to handle a busy schedule:
You can’t tackle every task at once. Prioritize your responsibilities. They may change depending on what you have going on at the time. Making sure that your work is handled in order of deadlines and/or personal importance will help you get through an overwhelming amount of work.
If you have a lot going on, organization is key. Make a schedule of everything you’ll be doing. Start with the daily tasks such as class and work shifts, and then add on other things such as weekly club meetings or volunteer schedules. Excel and Outlook are great programs for making personal schedules. Just having a physical schedule can make all the difference. You’re less likely to double book yourself or otherwise compromise your already busy schedule. A personal schedule will also help you plan time to complete homework assignments, group projects, study time and personal activities such as exercise or blog writing. Another way to organize is with a planner. Planners are my best friend. They’re great for having everything all together in a convenient location. There’s no excuse for forgetting or overlooking something if you have it in your planner.
3. Reinforce What Needs to Get Done
If you’re anything like me, you tend to forget things. You could give me an important task to complete, and I can forget it within a few minutes of walking away. To combat this, I write everything down…multiple times. Everything goes into two different planners, a big calendar, and on post-its that are stuck on my wall for good measure. Reinforcing your to-dos for the day/week will encourage you to get them done and over with.
4. Know Your Limits
It’s great to be involved and to be active, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you already have a full plate, be careful of signing up for anything more. There may be something you really want to be involved in, but can’t because of prior commitments, and that’s okay. Don’t exhaust yourself, because eventually, you will feel the impact (probably midterms and finals week). You may even want to analyze your current schedule if you’re feeling impossibly overwhelmed. Maybe that one class just isn’t working for you this semester; maybe you need to delegate more responsibility among your club members so you don’t have so much to do yourself. It’s important to be cautious of just how much you’re doing.
5. Take a Break
Sometimes we start something and we don’t want to stop until it’s done. That’s not a bad mentality to have, but on some occasions, it’s better to take a break. Sometimes, when you walk away from the task at hand and return to it refreshed, you see things clearly and suddenly, it doesn’t seem so impossible to finish.
6. Utilize Your Support System
Your family and close circle of friends are there for you. If you ever feel like you’re drowning, talk to someone you can trust. Don’t be afraid of being a bother, your loved ones want to help! And if they’re just as busy as you, chances are they’ll relate to what you’re feeling and you can support each other. If there’s any way someone in your support system can help you get things done, don’t turn away the help. Having someone help you with research, making a phone call, or running an errand or two for you can make a world of a difference.
7. Make Time for Yourself
Sometimes we are so caught up in getting things done and meeting all the deadlines, that we neglect ourselves. Make sure you take time out to relax. An hour, 30 minutes, even 15 minutes can make all the difference in your day. During this time, do something that makes you happy or calms you. Take a nap, read a book, write, color, play guitar, play a video game, whatever it is that will keep you in a good mood. If you know you’ll have a long weekend in the future, plan ahead so you can have some real leisure time. If you’re always focused on all the things that need to be done, you’ll slowly forget to make time for yourself, and that can have dangerous consequences. It’s all about balance.
Keep in mind that these are just tips. They’re not a sure-fire way to avoid the craziness of life; they’re ways to help you through it. Yes, there will still be times you feel overwhelmed, I still struggle with it regularly. Just remember, you’re not alone and you WILL get through it!