Balancing school/work/social life can take work. While we don’t want to be a slave to a schedule, we cannot always rely on our memory to remind us of appointments and due dates. This is why it is so important to make a schedule. Whether on paper or electronically, knowing when you have to do something or start to work on a project is crucial.
Typically, there are three categories in which calendar items can fall:
- In Stone
- Regularly occurring tasks such as weekly meetings, practice, etc.
- Must Do
- Items that need to get done but you have the flexibility to schedule such as doctors appointments, laundry, grocery shop, study.
- Free Time
- This is the open space on your calendar. Put in your social activities, hobbies, or even a nap here!
Creating a routine as much as possible is essential to staying on schedule. As much as possible, schedule things in at the same time each day. Build in breaks to your schedule. If you need time to nap, schedule it in. As long as you get the important stuff done. Breaks should not be open-ended. Electronics can be rabbit holes! Consider a technology blocker such as Freedom.to to help you help yourself to unplug and not procrastinate.
Using technology can help. Set reminders on your phone or watch to start or stop something. When transitioning between tasks, give yourself some “bump” time– time that is not assigned to anything. These 10-15 minutes will help ensure that you don’t get lost in what you are doing. If you still can’t pull yourself away from an activity to start something else, set a timer across the room, so you have to get up and move. This will help you transition.
If you still are ‘old school,’ get an oversized wall calendar. Color-code your “In Stone” and ” Must Do” activities. What is left over is the white spaces, which can be where you schedule in your free activities. But, whether you are using electronic or paper schedulers, don’t over commit. Know what your time available is and do not go past it. It is ok to say “No” to something. This gives you time to check your calendar before you commit. It’s better to be up front and honest about your lack of time rather than scramble to get something finished that is not your best work.