5 Actionable Tips for Balancing Work and College

Today is my the first day of the Spring 2019 Semester; and yes, for those of you who do not already know, I am a student. I am currently going to school to become a clinical social worker. In addition to being a blogger and a student. I am also a loving wife and mother of three. Which brings me to the point of this post. How do you balance so many obligations without being overwhelmed and neglecting your other responsibilities? Well, you have come to the right spot! In this post, I will be answering 'How to balance your roles and obligations?'.

1 | Keep a Planner

This is something that I swear by, so much so that I currently have three that I use in rotation. Keeping a physical planner that you carry with you will set you up for success because you will literally have everything that you need in the palm of your hand. Back in my days as an art student. My professor would tell me "You'll have a better time remembering if you physically write it down as opposed to saving it on your phone." I have become a firm believer in this, however, I do not discredit the value and convenience in having a physical calendar (I'll speak more about this later in the post).

Every day I review the week as a whole and see what it is that I need to complete for that day. I then like to take a look at any upcoming events, due dates, appointments etc. On a weekly basis, I look through my planner for larger and future projects, due dates, appointments, etc. I make sure to transfer over any information needed into its proper planner and plan out my week. My planners are all tentative - the dates and content can change at any time, nothing is 100% set in stone. I also use my time during these review sessions to transfer information into a digital calendar. This is a calendar that I am able to share with friends and family members. I am currently using google calendar.

Quick Tips for Keeping a Planner

  • Use it on a daily basis
  • Get into the habit of keeping it with you as much as you have your phone
  • Set aside time to review your planner on a daily and weekly
  • Remember to transfer information as needed
  • Break up your tasks

2 | Get Organized

The more organized you are, the more time you will have for other obligations. With that said, get organized. Come up with systems and routines for the various areas for your life, though it may seem tedious and meticulous at first. Once you make it into a habit, the more results you will have. Getting organized is a great way to destress your life because you have a set way that things are supposed to happen and it is it leaves little room for questions.

My organization for school. I do not bring my textbooks to class unless it is needed. I keep two binders as opposed to spiral notebooks. The first binder is my class binder. In it, I keep important papers, current work, and notes. My second binder is for my older notes and current projects that I am working on that are not due for time. Both of my binders are 2 Inch D-Ring Binders.

Quick Tips for Staying Organized

  • Create a to-do list and use it! When you have 101 things to do it can all start to blur together. Especially if you are not keeping proper track of it all.
  • Create a workflow pattern. Create a routine and stick with it!
  • Clean up after each activity/project. A key to being organized is to keep everything neat and tidy. Remember the saying you mess it up you clean it up.
  • Do not let things pile up. Complete your tasks as they come whenever possible. If you continuously put things off it will all build up and you may become overwhelmed.

3 | Set Reminders

This is where electronic devices come in. I would be lost without my phone and I'm sure others may feel the same. During the week and on my weekly review time, I set alarms and reminders on my phone and in google calendars to remind me of any important events coming up. It is a phenomenal idea to keep a planner. However, let's be honest, planners don't have electronic reminders, at least none of the ones that I have. So, make it a habit to set a reminder for important events.

During my weekly planning, I cross reference my google calendar, phone, and planner because it is not realist to always keep my planner with me. Though I do make it a rule to make a strong attempt to do so. This is where the cross-referencing comes in. There may be times where I set a date in my phone and or left a note on my phone. Because keeping my planner on me has become such a habit for me. This action has become natural.

Quick tips for Setting Reminders

  • Cross-reference your planner, notes, and calendars
  • Be mindful of when you set your reminders. Too often have I set a reminder and the timing of the reminder was not reasonable in regards to the time of the action. I do my best to set an alarm for 1 month before, 1 week before, 3 days before, the day before and 2 hours before. This way I have a had multiple times to prepare for the event and the reminders aren't too annoying or excessive.
  • If your event is out further than a week out say it is a year out this is how I would treat the reminders. 1 year, 9 months, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 week, 3 days, the day before and then 2 hours before. You by no means have to make so many notifications, this is just what works for me.

4 | Practice Makes Perfect

Come up with a routine and stick with it. I cannot count how many times I have had to drill this into my daughter's mind, let alone my own. Do not expect perfection overnight. Do not expect everything to change overnight either. Practice makes perfect! Create a routine and stick with it. It is said that it takes 21 days to learn a habit. Though it may be trying times you can get through it. After the 21 days, it should be a habit. Creating a habit is an excellent way to reinforce self-discipline.

I realized it was time for me to create and stick with the routine of keeping planner when my life started getting away from me. I was missing Doctor appointments, I was running late for events because I was double booking myself and my grades even started to take a hit. things were so jumbled up, I didn't know whether I was going or coming. So, I sat down one night everyone was asleep and I put together routines. The routines were not without flaws at first. I had to repeatedly alter and tweak them to fit my families needs. Now, I have a system that works for us. Every now and again we do need to make accommodations to fit life's events but for the most part, we work on it.

Quicks tips for creating a routine and sticking with it

  • Hold yourself accountable. You are the master of your own fate.
  • Baby steps. Take your time, do not rush the process. Once a day incorporate your habit into your daily routine.
  • Start small. Pick choose a simple task that you can so every day for starts. this could be something as simple as waking up and going to bed at a specific time or drinking more water throughout the day.
  • Keep a positive and open mind. If you tell yourself that you are going to fail then you just might.

5 | Practice Self-Care

Remember, you are a person who also needs care and attention so, do not deny yourself care. If you are tired take a break. The point of self-care is to make sure that you are at your best at all times. It is to make sure that you are taking out time for some personal TLC. The last thing one would want is for there to be a large life-changing event that forces them to become concerned about their personal care.

Personal care doesn't need to be a complex ritual, though you can make it what you want. Self-care be as simple as taking a quiet walk, working on that novel you've had in the back of your mind, sleeping in, going to the spa, going to the gym, journaling, cooking something new or even binge-watching a show. Self care is taking time out for yourself and doing what you love and enjoy. One thing that I do for self-care is blog and binge watch TV or listen to music.

Quick tips for practicing self-care

  • Quality of care. It is one thing to say that you care for yourself but if it's not good quality care then what is the point?
  • Know when to say no. You are the go-to person, I get it. But even the hero needs rest to rest. It is okay to say no at times.
  • Mark it on your calendar. Schedule your self-care! Make it apart of your routine.

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