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  • Writer's picturedarienmonck

5 Ways to Manage a Busy Schedule

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

If you know me, you know that I enjoy living a very busy lifestyle. Growing up, I did school all day and then 3-5 hours of extracurricular activities each night. When I started my degree I worked nearly full time while doing full time studies. As I made my way through my degree I picked up more and more odd jobs and here I am taking steps towards my career, finishing up my degree, and trying to do as much adventuring as possible and enjoying life.

It definitely isn’t easy balancing work and school and life all together, and trust me when I say I have had a few (this is an understatement) breakdowns over it. However, over the past years I have managed to come up with a few key rules that allow me to do it all with much less stress:

1. Find the Right Planner.

Believe me - this sounds easier than it is. You need to find a planner that suits all of your needs for whatever your lifestyle is. For me, it is one that is small enough that fits in my purse so I can take it places, gives me monthly and weekly planning options, and has lots of room for notes and monthly planning (i.e. appointments, budgeting, etc). I have the best luck at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

My planner is my saving grace. It has everything in there. All of my classes, my work schedule, my extra curricular activities, appointments, “don’t forget about ____” notes, and more. This is helpful when I need to see when to cut back on anything, or when I need to look back and see what I have already accomplished.

See my current 2020/2021 day planner!

2. Download a Mobile Calendar.

Now this may seem redundant as I just said get a physical planner, but trust me. I am guilty of being on my phone far too much, and even more so when I am procrastinating something. By having my phone remind me of all of the things I need to do (and also guilts me into doing them).

I use Google Calendar on my phone. I find this is the best as it pulls all of my appointment reminders straight from my email, and I can quickly add meetings in from my email to my calendar. It also allows me to put in reminders. For example, it could be a reminder to do my quiz for that one class, a reminder to book that thing, or to do something active. Not to mention, it is pretty nice to have a backup calendar in case I ever forget my planner (which is still more often than I like to admit).

I also utilize the Todoist app. This is purely a digital to-do list.

3. Set Weekly and Daily Goals

This is one of the most important ones. If you have met me, worked with me, or even interviewed me you will know that I am a list person. Crushing a to-do list is one of the best feelings, and it is even better to look back and see how productive you were on those days where it doesn’t feel like you were.

Daily goals can be anything from going for a walk to finishing a project or task. It is how you set the tone for your day and holds you accountable for the day. Weekly goals are a great way for you to plan out your week and allow yourself to know when you are at capacity and may need to scale back. Nothing is worse then getting to Thursday thinking you are almost done just to remember you told Sally you would have something finished by Friday and then have to cram. Daily and weekly goals prevent that from happening and allows you to cross things off and have a little you time when you do.

4. Do Not Work All Night.

This is my favourite rule for myself and likely the number one reason I have survived such a crazy five years. By shutting off my mind from work/school by 9pm, and let’s be real I usually shut down and log off at 8pm - it allows me to rest and recharge from the events of that day. It gives me time to do something for myself, spend it watching my favourite show, reading a book, having a bath, or doing literally anything that I enjoy.

Believe it or not, but I have NEVER pulled an all nighter and that does not mean I am a slacker, but it means that I bust my ass all day so I can get my rest, end the day off on a good note, and allow myself some time to breath so I am functioning and off to a good start in the morning the next day.

5. Do something that you enjoy every day.

This kind of ties to the rule above, but it is something that many people get caught up and forget. Doing something you enjoy keeps you sane. It allows you to have something to look forward to each day. It can be simple like cooking instead of ordering take-out, going for a walk, listening to your favourite song, or really anything that puts a smile on your face.

I watch so many people around me spend each day doing things they don’t like doing. Sometimes you have to do it, for financial reasons, but there are 24 hours in a day, and you can take one hour and set it aside for you. You need it.

Now, I am not an expert or a time management specialist. Perhaps you knew all of these tips already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. However, if you made it this far you reached the ultimate tip…quit getting caught up in such a busy lifestyle that you forget to take time for you. You are the only one there for yourself at the end of the day.

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