Time Management: The Never-ending Struggle to Juggle Your Schedule
“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!”
My day never runs as smoothly as I expect it to. And yet, that definitely makes it more interesting. Now that I’m finished college, for the time being, I am learning just how difficult it is to manage my time independently of a structured, academic schedule. Being the person responsible for balancing work and play, tasks and goals, productivity and rest, learning and fun, is a never-ending job. The good news is that, for the most part, I’m getting better at it. Practice makes progress. Accepting the inevitable nature of unexpected or unscheduled distractions, mishaps, changes, detours, and shortcuts remind me to be adaptable and flexible in managing my time. I can’t pretend my schedule is set in stone when things happen that are out of my control and must be dealt with quickly and efficiently. These 3 tips help me manage my daily/weekly schedule and be on time for dates:
- Sometimes you can’t get everything taken care of in one day, it’s important to celebrate what you did accomplish instead of dwelling on what is still left to do.
- If it’s written down enough times, it eventually gets done. Making lists really helps you focus on goals and priorities in a manageable way.
- Using rewards to accomplish tasks is an effective way to be productive and satisfied with a balanced schedule of work and play.
There is always something to be done. Obligations to fulfill, new projects to start, old projects to finish, maintaining yourself and the space around you, goals to accomplish, friends and family to spend time with. It is so easy to fall prey to always looking forward and focusing on what else you have to do without celebrating what you have already done! Measure your accomplishments by how far you have progressed since yesterday. Recognizing the hard work you put into scheduling your time and accomplishing tasks can inspire you to relax and reward yourself, which will help you gear up for the next phase of time management and goal setting. It’s an ongoing process that becomes easier with mindful practice.
Making lists can be extremely effective to manage your time successfully. When my mind is full of things to remember, writing them down is very therapeutic. It helps me organize my thoughts, set intentions, and prioritize tasks in a manageable format. Crossing goals off of a list is satisfying, but the peace of mind I get after making a list and getting all of these obligations out of my head and on to paper is even more satisfying. Sometimes you won’t accomplish everything on the list, and that’s okay, you will have more time to include them on future lists. Making a habit to write down your daily schedule in the context of a weekly schedule has helped me effectively fulfill big goals over a period of time.
“Treat yo’ self!”
I was exposed to this wonderful phrase while watching the TV show Parks and Recreation. It means what it says. Treat yourself! Honor the desire for pampering rewards after working hard and being productive. Using rewards can motivate you to accomplish goals and fulfill obligations with the promise of much needed relaxation and rejuvenation afterwards. Allotting time for work now, with time for play later creates a balanced schedule. Developing a self-care practice where you devote time to caring for yourself is a beautiful thing. Taking a bubble bath, reading your favorite book, getting cozy in bed and watching a movie you love, going for a hike, going out for dinner, taking a long nap, stretching, spending time with a friend, cuddling with a pet, buying yourself new make-up or clothes. All of these are great ways to inspire yourself to work hard so that you can relax hard. It’s just as important to schedule time to relax as it is to be productive. Balance is key!
Sometimes unexpected things happen, and next thing you know, you’re late for an important date. Don’t panic! There are ways to get back on track as you adapt your schedule to fit the wrench that was just thrown in it. Accept that managing time is an ongoing process full of mistakes and successes. There is always something to do, and when you think it’s over and you’ve taken care of everything, something else will come up. Learning to manage your time the way that works best for you is a never-ending process. Following through with a to-do list, waking up when you said you would, or taking the time to decompress when you need to are all part of that process. Finding a sense of balance and ease with a schedule that allows for deviation and adaptation is important. Celebrate your victories, even if there are more to be accomplished. Make a list. Reward yourself. Try these tips and see if they help you feel confident and content as you schedule your time!