Some days I absolutely hate looking at my Google calendar. Like today? I have a packed schedule. Four different event emails to draft, a new invitation to design, and a small brainstorming session for preliminary story ideas for our upcoming newsletter. Oh, and there’s a stack of at least 15 different magazines sitting on my desk waiting for me to page through in search of ideas and new thoughts in regards to my office’s bi-yearly magazine. That’s just the professional side of the day.
Once I leave the office, I’m headed home to pack a duffel bag or two and hitting the road for my sis’s wedding (Yay!). Once I complete the three-hour drive, there’s a card box to finish, a video to edit, and a speech to write. More than likely, a handful of this magazine stack will come home with me for when I have an hour or two of “free time.” I was approached by a member of the senior theatre class to help them with their senior showcase and offer my thoughts and opinions. Master degree programs…I’m starting to look and I have a few packets to go through. Did I mention I only slept three hours last night?
I have a chronic problem. I don’t know how or when to say no.
In college, you are up to your eyebrows in classes, extracurricular activities, volunteering, internships, jobs, homework, family, friends, hobbies…With all this going on 24/7, how do we ever get it all done? It does all get done, but is it to the best of our abilities? Having that crazy busy schedule put a lot of stress on me when I was an undergrad. If I were to do something, I wasn’t going to go the sub-par route. The end result had to be fantastic and something I was proud of in the end. Juggling all those balls definitely didn’t make life easier.
So, how do you attempt to cope with such a large load on your plate?
Developing strong time management skills will save you down the road from being haunted by your long to-do list. When I start to feel overwhelmed by my original daily to-do list and the tag-on additions that pop up along the way, I push myself away from my computer and take 10-15 minutes to look over everything. Then, I prioritize what needs to be done now. It certainly helps me breathe a little easier for the rest of the workday.
Make sure to keep the big things your main priority. You’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and resources to be here in college or at your internship/job, so be sure to make the most of it. Stop by that professor’s office and ask about their research that interests you. Attend the seminar on Hollywood films in the ‘70s. Learn all you can while you’re here. Me? I attend monthly social media breakfasts to expand my knowledge and meet professionals also in charge of social media for their companies. I’ve also signed up for fitness classes offered to employees. (See? It doesn’t have to be serious all the time!)
In the end, you have to keep you happy and healthy. Trying to “do it all” can take a toll on your mind and your body. Remember when I only got three hours of sleep? Not something I want to be doing consistently. The reality is if you’re stressed out and tired, you’re not giving the things you are doing your full attention. It’s okay to allow yourself a break. In fact, schedule one into your day, every day. After some time, if that light at the end of the tunnel still isn’t drawing closer, it might be time to scale back. Is what you’re taking on worth it to you? If you answered no, it’s time to drop it and let yourself have a little breathing room.
Even after college, I struggle with saying no to things, so it’s something to be worked on long-term. Someone really should develop a class called ‘How to be Wonder Woman 101.’
Of Possible Interest:
- Healthy on the Job – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources
- Productivity & Wellness – all of our blog posts on the topic
- The Art of Maintaining a Busy Schedule
- How to Say NO
- Prioritizing Isn’t Always Easy
Photo Source (brianna.lehman)