Each of us has this extremely precious thing at our disposal. It is something that can add strength to relationships and help us grow. But it is also something that can be fleeting, and often acts as a major source of stress for me. When you have a lot of events and things going on, it can be hard to manage your time, but it is definitely possible. I have been getting asked how I am able to manage my time so well, so I thought I would make a blog post about it. I’m not an expert at scheduling people’s lives, but so far, I have been pretty successful at making time for the things that are important to me.
For one, you’re usually not too busy. I know that we all have a lot going on, but if we really wanted to, we could always work something out. More times than not, we have the ability to shift things around to free up some time. I’m not saying that you need to fill up every single minute of every single day with an event, that would be way too exhausting. What it all comes down to are our priorities, "we make time for the things we value."
Before letting ya'll into what I do to manage my time, I should probably share some of the things that I juggle. For one, I am a full time student majoring in biology (I take 4 classes and 2 labs), I am heavily involved at my church (I serve at least 9 hours a week), I have a greeting card business (Kards by Kaesee), and I write this blog. There are obviously other things that most other people do like hanging out with friends, going out of town, ya know. It can be hard to balance all of those things and I actually have break downs where I feel like everything is slipping through my fingers and like there is too much going on. On days like that, I try to calm myself down and free up my time a little bit so my schedule isn't so stuffed. But over the years, these are some of the things that I have found to be a great help:
Do what needs to be done so that you can do what you want to do
A lot of people make the mistake of pushing off the things that need to be done until the last minute. It’s very easy to do, especially if you have more fun options than doing homework. While it may be fun to shrug off tasks in the moment, you won’t be so happy when you’re crying at 3am because you still haven’t finished your essay. You don’t even have to get everything done in one day, but space out the things that need to be done and do them first. It’s so much easier to accomplish big tasks if you break them down into doable sections. Once you finished what needs to be done, then having fun and hanging out with friends won’t make you feel so guilty.
Ask me how many all-nighters I have pulled because I need to finish work? None. I try really hard to finish everything I need to by 9, and if the homework or whatever else it is isn't done by then, then it's not getting done until the next day. I don't think it benefits me to make myself miserable by not getting sleep. That would just set me up for an entire day full of failure.
This goes hand in hand with doing what needs to be done so that you can do what you want to do. If it’s Monday and you know that you have a big event coming up on Thursday, plan accordingly so that you can get the things done that you would usually do on Thursday, in the days before.
I plan my week based first off of school and the off of church. I know that I don't get out of school until 2:15 so I don't plan anything until after that time. I also know that on Wednesdays, I'll be at church from 6 until 9ish and then I'll be there again on weekends. This means that whenever other plans come up, I try and schedule them around these constants.
Bring productive things to work on whenever you have down time.
Phones are amazing because they ensure that we are never bored by providing us with an endless amount of games and people to talk to...but it would be a better use of your time if instead of being on your phone when you’re waiting on someone or something to work on something productive.
I serve at my church for over 5 hours on Sundays. Because of the team I volunteer with, I have around an hour in between services to do whatever I want. I usually use this time to do homework, which is why I bring my backpack pretty much everywhere and why headphones are God sent because they help me to actually concentrate on what I’m doing. If I don't bring my whole backpack with me, then I try and bring at least one thing that I could work on if I happen to be waiting for long periods of time. After I get to school, if there is any down time from a teacher letting us out early or canceling class, then I use that time to work on things for school. I try to work on things I know I can finish quickly like a spanish assignment or making flashcards and then save things like studying or reading a section of my bio book for later. This way, I am able to get as many assignments done as possible. (There is a lot more strategy in when I do my homework and study, but I’ll save that for another blog post). I bring my homework pretty much everywhere I go. If you see me with a backpack, it’s because there may be a chance for me to get some work done. Instead of wasting time you spend waiting on people or in between events, you can do productive things that actually need to be done.
Wake up early even when you don’t have to
I feel like this gives you an opportunity to fit more things into your schedule. If your afternoons are always filled, you can make more time by waking up earlier. You have more time for things without taking away from the time that you need to do other tasks.
On Mondays and Tuesdays I don't need to leave my house for school until 10:30, but I still wake up at 7 to do things that I actually enjoy I usually try to make this a time where I work on creative things, read for fun, or play guitar. So no serious work or studying is done during this time unless absolutely necessary. If I didn’t do this, I would never have time to do anything creative which would make me feel extremely sad and miserable. We only have 24 hours in a day, but we can shift things around, including our sleep schedules, so that we can use our time better. In this time, I am able to chill and meander through the morning without feeling rushed because of time constraints. It makes me feel more calm and also gives me time to fully wake up and build up my "levels of niceness" before going out into the world. This extra amount of time also means that I am able to make myself breakfast and possibly lunch.
Write down what is happening during the week in a planner or on your phone
By visually seeing what your week looks like, you are able to prepare for what's coming up, and keep track of all of your events.
If you are a bit particular like me, you may try and color code your planner. I write information for each of my classes, church events, hanging out with friends, and things like birthdays in a different color. It's low key soothing and makes writing in my planner really fun. But even if you don't color code your planner, writing down all of your events definitely helps to keep track of your time.
Make lists of what needs to be done
It can be easy to forget what you need to do if you never write it down. If things are out of sight, they are often out of mind. In addition to writing the plans for the day, you can also write down tasks or chores that you want to get done.
If I don't write down what I need to do, I almost always forget. I am super organized only because if I don't do things like writing in my planner, then I won't get anything done. Plus, whenever I'm "bored" or have some time to spare, I can look at this list and choose something that I want to tackle for the day.
Everyone and every schedule is different so these may not help you, but hopefully I am able to help someone!
Thanks for reading,