How To Get And Keep Your Life Together
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Health and Wellness

How To Get And Keep Your Life Together

By Someone Struggling To Do the Same

How To Get And Keep Your Life Together

If you are reading this article, you may be looking for wisdom from someone who handles their life a lot better than you. I am sad to say, I am not that person. I am about to give advice that I struggle to follow myself. Sorry about that. I promise it is still good advice. 

Figure out your weekly schedule, now

Use a planner, whether it is a paper planner you buy or the calendar app in your phone. Write down the times and locations of things that will occur on a daily/weekly/monthly basis for the next few months -- classes, work schedule, doctors appointments, etc. Use different colored pens to make it easy to see when you have class, versus work. This is the foundation of your life, since it probably won't change for at least a few months. Everything else you have to do must work around this core schedule, so you better know it.

Write down important dates

In addition to your long-term commitments, write down any important days or events. Tests and paper due dates, friend's birthdays, vacations, weddings, the premiere of your favorite TV show, the day your rent is due, etc. Whip out those colorful pens and doodle around these to make them stand out. These are the things you don't want to forget, and with so much going on, it's likely that a date here and there will slip. Write it all down.

Make "to-do" lists!

Here's a not-so-secret secret: if you feel like you don't have your stuff together, you are probably stressed. If you are stressed, you are probably thinking about a million different things. If you are thinking about a million different things, you are probably going to forget one. Make to-do lists of everything!  You can use a notepad, or the notepad app in your phone can also work great. Make one every day, for each week, and a general to-do list. When you get everything done for one day, see if you can knock something off your week's to-do list. Super productive this week?  Awesome. Maybe you owe Grandma a phone call and you can knock that off your general to-do list. Crossing things off or putting a check next to them is oddly satisfying. If I do something before I make my list, sometimes I still write it on the list, just so I can have the pleasure of crossing it out. That simple little line can make you feel like you made progress, so your stress level stays low and you can keep your cool.

Make time for the gym in your busy schedule

Exercise is not an option, unless you are one of those people who could consume your entire fridge without gaining an ounce. Whether you hit the elliptical, go for a jog outside, practice yoga or like to swim, make the time for it at least three to four times a week. Exercise is proven to reduce stress and triggers the release of endorphins, which make you happy.

Stick to your schedule

Now that you have worked so hard, and have a stunningly organized life (on paper), it is time to actually follow it! When you see you have three hours between two of your classes, knock some homework off your to-do list instead of Insta-stalking that guy you saw at the bar last weekend. Make the most of your time, it's precious.  You'll thank yourself as you cross out your to-do lists.

Reward yourself

All that being said, I'm not here to preach productivity every second of your life. I love a good Netflix binge as much as anyone, or exploring funky little shops in a new town with friends.  Make time for these things, too, because they can be just as important. But if you are feeling overwhelmed or disorganized and need to just chill, you can schedule this time into your week, too. Look ahead at what you have coming up. Then, look at your schedule for the week and see where you can have some "me" time.  I have written "lazy time" in my planner for Sunday mornings when I know I will need it. I schedule study time around an afternoon nap. I also take spontaneous beach trips when I realize I can move some other things around until later, so I can have my "me" time when I want it. Some people think that by organizing and planning your time, you will always be doing something and never relax. Quite the opposite. When you know you have the time, you can enjoy it more.

Nobody's perfect

Plans change, life happens. It's okay. Don't beat yourself up if something slips your mind or you wind up procrastinating.   Things rarely go according to plan; that's life.  Do your best to recover and get back on track. Missing a due date or being late on assignment isn't good, but it isn't the end of the world.  Don't let it wreck everything else you have going on. By having everything organized ahead of time, you can fall back on this to help you get your life together again. No worries.

To follow up on my previous disclaimer, this is not as easy as it sounds (trust me). Getting organized still requires a lot of effort, even with a step-by-step guide. The intimidation factor of a to-do list increases exponentially in relation to the number of items on said list (scientific fact). This can make you want to say screw it and flop right back into bed -- been there, done that, probably will do it again). However, when I stay on top of my responsibilities and stay productive, it is totally worth it.  I love myself a little more when I can go to bed and actually fall asleep without worrying about things I may have forgotten to do, or wondering how I can possibly get everything done.  

Give these tips a shot. The worst thing that could happen is you buy a cute planner, use it twice and then it collects dust on your desk, never to be opened again. However, if you actually get yourself together and organize your life, you will be much better off.  So, you're welcome, in advance.  

When you fully appreciate this wisdom I have bestowed on you, feel free to express your gratitude to me in the form of pizza and ice cream.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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