Creating a Schedule that Works
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Student Life

Creating a Schedule that Works

This is in response to 5 New Tips for Gym-Goers

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Creating a Schedule that Works
Class schedules

As a second semester grad student, I’ve often heard that grad school is more busy than undergraduate. And for the most part, that’s correct. But the old adage of “I’m too busy” for certain things without a schedule set in place is a recipe for disaster. Now, anyone that knows me knows I use Google Calendar and Notion very heavily. That’s because these two tools have a structured yet aesthetic way of organizing. Between internship, work and classes, it can get very overwhelming quickly but here are a few tips to make it all work out. In the wise words of Marie Forleo, everything is figureoutable :)

  1. Determine your non-negotiables

If something is important to you, you’ll indeed make the time for it. Want to try out a new hobby? Spend time with friends and family? Watch an episode of your favorite TV show? You have to decide what matters to you and schedule that in advance. So, say you only have a 15 minute block in between classes or you have an hour lunch break, instead of scrolling through social media, you can pick up that book that’s been on your TBR list since forever. Excuses such as “I don’t have time” further prevent you from accomplishing your goal. But if you determine what you must have in your schedule, you’ll prioritize those tasks first. If something isn’t scheduled, it’s not important to you enough.

2. Schedule breaks

If you self-identify as a high achiever, that constantly has tasks back to back without breaks, it might work for a couple of weeks. However, in the long-term grand scheme of things, you’re going to burnout pretty quickly (Trust me, been there, done that). One method that works well is the Pomodoro Technique or, for all you anime fans out there, the Animedoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique (Italian for the Tomato Timer) is a productivity method that allows you to focus on one task (yes, only one!) for twenty-five minutes and then take a five minute break. You repeat this process four times and then take a 15-30 minute break. The process then repeats until you take a 2 hr break. Now sometimes, depending on the task itself, it might take a while to warm up to the task and by the time you do, you’re already at a 5 minute break. This is where the Animedoro task comes in. Basically, Animedoro is a long-form version of the Pomodoro (I tend to use this method for studying, reading dense chapters and anything that requires deep work). Instead of 25 minutes, you have a 40-60 time block. At the end of the session, you get a 20 minute break to watch anime (or whichever type of show you like to watch). It’s not a prerequisite to have a show to watch during your break. Then, you repeat the process. The thing about Animedoro compared to Pomodoro is that the process for Animedoro doesn’t change. So, you’ll always do 20 minute breaks after 40-60 minute blocks. Like any productivity method, it works for some people, not for others. You have to find what works for you.

3. Have an open mind to be flexible if you have to adjust

Have you ever had a to-do list that’s filled with tasks to the brim that you find yourself frustrated that you didn’t finish all of them? Sometimes, even with hyper-scheduling tasks in advance and taking breaks, you’re just not going to get all that’s done in a day. You might have to readjust your schedule in order for you to be proficient at finishing. Depending on your deadlines, you can make it all work. But flexibility is key over all. While we do have control over our schedules, we don’t have control over life circumstances. So, if life happens to you, give yourself grace and permission to have a daily reset for the next day. Whatever tasks that you didn’t finish during a particular day will be there for you when you start the next day.

4. Focus on only a few tasks per day / deep work

Going off of the previous point, it might be more beneficial to only select a few tasks to accomplish for the day. If you have ever heard of Cal Newport, you know he emphasizes the importance of deep work (Work for 90 minutes). Deep work is when your mind concentrates on a particular task without distractions. Some tasks like writing require more brain power to focus. In situations like that, it helps to only have a few tasks on your list that require deep work. This is where the Ivy Lee Method comes in. The Ivy Lee Method is another productivity tip that has you focus on the most important five to six tasks. By doing this, you’re simplifying how many tasks you have to do and allowing yourself to get more done vs scheduling ten to twenty tasks in a given day that you might not get done.

Of course, there are more productivity tips out there to create a schedule that works but I think the four tips I talked about are the most basic. Remember, everything is figureoutable :)

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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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