How I Balance My Full-Time Job During College

By Cassandra Acker

Someone once said that you can always tell a lot about a person when you look into their bag. For me, my bag consists of the modern woman’s essentials. This includes my phone, pens, coupons and lip balm. But what people would be surprised to find is two planners catered to the same year. My mother would always ask, ‘Why do you carry around two planners?”. I would always reply, “One for business and one for partying.” Which is half true. The thing is, ever since I have decided to go to graduate school, my schedule has become so busy that I need two planners to keep up with it all. It has actually gotten to the point I have to color code everything. Colors make everything more fun, by the way. When someone asks me what I do for a living and I list all my responsibilities, they are initially shocked and then continue to give me credit for balancing it all.

Truthfully, it is not easy. However, time management is a skill that I am perfecting each day. Here are six tips on how I manage it all in the hopes that you can use them to manage your busy schedule.

1. Get a planner

That’s right. Old school but it most definitely works. If you are the type of person that has to write everything down, this can work for you. There are different kinds of planners. There are some that just give you a month at a glance. Some planners give you months and weekly spaces to write to-do lists or small reminders. I would also suggest getting a pocket to mid-size one that you can easily take with you, especially if a professor tells you about a random assignment that was not listed on the syllabus.

2. Get a task-oriented app

If you haven’t heard about this handy dandy app, you should consider signing up for it. Asana is an application with desktop access, where you can create a personal task list and assign due dates for completion. It is also great if you are doing a group project. You can assign certain tasks to people in your group and add due dates to them as well. It is a great way to track progress with everyone and with yourself.

3. Take care of yourself

Making time to do something that you enjoy is important. What I found myself doing at the beginning of my graduate career was saying yes to people and events. You know those Facebook events that you show the world you’re going to but when the day comes you are actually not as interested as you thought you were? Yeah, those situations. The point is that you should always make time for yourself no matter how busy you get. Your body and mind will thank you.

4. Have a good bedtime routine

Sounds elementary, right? Wrong. Remember how you were always told that getting 8 hours of sleep was the magic number? Haha, good luck achieving that. However, the most successful people in the world have a proper bedtime routine. I ran across an amazing bed routine document on Pinterest that told me to start shutting down my body at least two hours before my set bedtime. I would also suggest doing that crazy oil diffuser thing that everyone does. I bought a really good one on Amazon for less than $20 and bought oils from Walmart. Lavender works wonders, my friends.

5. Communicate your schedule to your boss and professors

Communicating with your boss and professors about your schedule can prevent running into schedule problems later. If your full-time job is understanding about your college career, then they will be willing to work with you.

6. Use your lunchtime for schoolwork

Sounds boring, but it works. You get one hour or less to have a break. Use that hour to catch up on some necessary reading or to study for an upcoming exam. I mean, are you really going to study after an 8-hour shift? Probably not, but you can get a head start.

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