I’ve missed interacting with you all lately. September was an insanely busy month and I feel like I haven’t had a minute to just stop, breathe, and express. School hasn’t gotten as hectic just yet (all of my papers and submissions are pretty much due in November), so that isn’t necessarily what’s been keeping me on my toes. In fact, September is a big hiring season for Accounting firms and your girl was doing a lot to put herself out there and try to get hired for next year when I graduate! (prayers highly appreciated in this time). The hustle continues and it shall be well.
A big aspect of navigating university successfully is learning how to manage your time and prioritise your deadlines and tasks. Despite being in a small university town, I find that there’s always something going on that can easily pull me away from my focus and from being able to get things done: whether it’s parties, societies, work, you name it! I must say, though, I’ve come a long way these four years because the me this year is not actively searching for death by adrenaline as eagerly as the me last year LOL. The days of submitting assignments that were due by 11:59pm at 11:57pm are gone and I would like for things to stay that way!!
Stress in Uni is a natural and real phenomenon. If I didn’t experience any stress every now and then, I probably wouldn’t get anything done tbh. However, there have been times where my stress levels have gotten the better of me, and all I wanted to do was pretend it was just a dream that I was gonna wake up from, and that no one actually expected anything from me and that my deadlines didn’t exist. You can imagine how much work I got done with that mindset. The good thing about going through such times though, is that there’s always a great opportunity to learn from them and strategize better for future periods. I’ll share a few of the strategies that have helped me through stressful times and with managing my time better, and hopefully these are a little helpful to you as well.
Whenever I have multiple deadlines and assignments, it’s important for me to sit down and map out a plan that will keep me on track and ensure that I get everything completed on time. This involves writing out all of my deadlines and prioritizing each assignment accordingly, and then breaking each assignment into little digestable pieces that my brain can quickly process. Setting a few short and long-term goals is also paramount to my planning stage – failure to plan is a plan to fail!
Use a calendar
If I don’t see it up on my calendar, I’m probably gonna forget about it. A calendar is a good tool that helps you stay on top of things and holds you accountable when you aren’t doing so great at managing your deadlines! I keep about 3 calendars active: one on my bedroom wall, one in my daily planner, and one in my email which is connected to my phone. I schedule even the littlest of tasks, like “marinate meat for tomorrow”, because I know how easily I forget things.
This is a big one if you are someone who procrastinates a lot! Have you ever told yourself you were going to work out tomorrow, and when tomorrow came you talked yourself out of it and went to get a burger instead? (Speaking from experience, clearly). Well, that’s exactly what happens when you aren’t specific enough with yourself about what you need to do. Our brains process tasks that need to be completed much easier when we give them detailed instructions. If I know exactly what I’m going to do at the gym tomorrow (30 minutes of Spin, 10 reps of 6 deadlifts, 50 squats etc), I’m definitely going to be more motivated to go than if I tell myself I’m going to “work out”. In the same way, breaking down my assignment into smaller, more defined bits will help me to avoid wasting time trying to solve this big chunk of work that looks more overwhelming than it probably is.
Ask For Help
This one was always a tough one for me. For some reason, I struggle asking for help even when I need it most. The truth is, though, there are always resources around you and you only have to ask to get the help you need. I’ve attended lots of workshops on campus about time management and better studying habits that only took one hour out of my day, but had a lasting impact on my work. Don’t feel shy to ask someone if you’re not doing so hot at managing your life: it’s better to ask what may seem like a silly question than to suffer in silence.
Learn to Say No
I’m one of those people that struggles to say no to people for fear of letting them down or hurting their feelings. This, however, has gotten me into some really tight situations where I’ve overbooked my time simply because I felt bad about telling someone I wouldn’t be able to make it to their event or whatever the case was. It’s something I’m still working on, but I’ve definitely started taking steps to make sure I’m protecting my time, saying yes to things that will truly not inconvenience me, and declining some of those less-pressing requests. Work in progress.
When you’ve completed a particular part of your task, allow yourself a little treat. I like to have a glass of wine or watch an episode of a TV series that evening. This keeps me fresh and reminds me that I’m not a robot – I deserve a night off sometimes. Of course, this isn’t always feasible, so I try to schedule my treat according to when I know I’ll have time to bounce back into work-mode and get my assignment done on time. Self-care is the best care! Don’t deprive yourself of some loving when you need it because your work will suffer more than it will benefit, from your self-neglect.
And that’s it babes! Applying these few strategies to my daily life has really helped to relieve some of the stress I tend to feel around this time of the semester, partially because some of that stress was self-created by failing to be more organised. What are some of your time-management tips and ways that you deal with stress, that have proven helpful for you? Comment, comment, comment! You can also catch up on my last post here. Cheers!