Balancing Your Busy Schedule
In addition to my full-time job at ADVANCE, I'm also working on my graduate degree in Communication Studies and occasionally working on some freelance projects. I'm a newlywed and I have three nieces and nephews under the age of 5 that I cannot get enough of. My family and my husband's family both live over an hour away from our home -- in completely opposite directions. I'm always busy.
It's taken a long time to figure out how to juggle a busy schedule, and I know many of our readers also balance multiple responsibilities-time in the lab and also as a teacher, family responsibilities, continuing education, etc. I'd like to share a few things that have helped me keep my head above water at work, school and home-please add your own tips in the comments section!
Prioritize. This is the most important. I actually number my to-do list in order of importance. Tackle the must-do items first.
- Use your paid time off. It's yours, you've earned it, and you have it for a reason. Don't beat yourself up about using your vacation days (I'm not sure why this seems to be a recurring trend in our culture)! Final exams approaching? Use a vacation day to catch up on schoolwork so you're not staying up all night to do it. Can't figure out when you're going to run all of those miscellaneous errands that are best performed during normal business hours-while you're at work? Vacation day!
- Cut yourself some slack. Did you ignore your to-do list in favor of lying on the couch all Saturday afternoon? You probably needed the break. You'll feel recharged and ready to tackle more if you allow yourself some lazy time. The world will not end if the dishes stay in the sink and your sister will forgive you if you have to cancel lunch. Don't be so hard on yourself!
- Do "Future You" a favor. Prepare in advance. This is something I wish I were better at. When I take the time on Sunday to prepare a giant salad that I can use throughout the week for lunch, cut up fruit for easy snacking, and plan out the week's dinners, I'm less rushed the rest of the week. Can't plan a week in advance? Start with a day: Pack your lunch the night before, put anything you'll need to take with you by the door, decide what you're going to wear. The morning will go much more smoothly!
What are you juggling? What tips help you stay sane?