Get Your Sh*t Together

Midterm week is finally over. Finals week feels so far away. What now? With the semester coming to an end soon, it can be difficult to find the motivation to stay organized. You may be feeling like you’re caught between the most stressful weeks, and stuck somewhere in a weirdly calm rut. 

While these days may feel boring –– or, dare I say –– relaxing, it’s important to not lose sight of what’s ahead. If you let yourself slip up now, it’ll feel impossible to recover when finals come around. That’s why it’s so important to get your sh*t together now before it’s too late!

1. Plan everything out

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One tool that has always helped me stay on top of things is my planner. I plan every detail of my life out down to the minute. However, if planning isn’t an extreme sport for you as it is for me, there’s still no reason you shouldn’t try it. You don’t have to start off with anything too hardcore. Just start with all the important things; the things you can’t avoid or change.

A common tip for time management is to consider the old “rocks and sand” analogy. The idea with this example is to consider your important tasks as rocks and your unimportant tasks as sand. If you fill a container with sand first, you’ll have no room for rocks. But if you start with the rocks, you can still fill the gaps in the container with sand. This basically means that if you start by planning your important tasks, you can fill the gaps in your day with all the unimportant tasks, giving you time for everything. 

With this analogy in mind, it’s best to start off by planning your important responsibilities like appointments, classes, meetings, due dates, tests and homework. Then, you can fill the gaps in your day in with the less important things like checking social media, watching your favorite show, going to a party and grabbing lunch with a friend. 

2. Budget your money

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This step is important for anyone looking to save some money, especially for my fellow jobless babes. You probably started this semester with far more green than you have now, but don’t be discouraged by that. There’s still plenty of time to fix your spending habits and resurrect your wallet. 

I’m almost certain that I would be broke by now without the Excel sheet on my laptop labeled “Budget.” Sitting in a computer literacy class may seem useless at the moment, but knowing the ins and outs of Excel can really come in handy sometimes. The trick here is to give yourself a monthly budget separated into categories. I budget by giving myself a weekly spending limit in the following categories: groceries, dining out, supplies and fun. 

Next, I simply refer to my transaction history on my bank app to fill out my transactions in each category. I like to do this as often as possible so that I can monitor how close I am to hitting my weekly limit before I surpass it. This is a great tool for me because it prevents me from wasting money on things I don’t need to be spending on. 

3. Pamper yourself

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With all this planning and budgeting, your once calm days may start to get a bit stressful. This doesn’t mean you should stop getting organized; it simply means you should make time for yourself in the process. I find that scheduling out chunks of your night to treat yourself to a face mask or a pedicure can help you stay sane in the weeks ahead. 

“Me time” is very important to anyone’s mental health. It reminds you that, although being organized is important for your success, it shouldn’t impede on your overall well-being. So, before you go crazy with planners and spreadsheets, make sure you have some snacks and face masks handy too!

4. Exercise regularly

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This one can feel really tricky in terms of finding motivation. When your plate already feels full, it’s so easy to make excuses to not go to the gym or to simply take a walk. However, I’m here to tell you, THAT’S BS! No one is expecting you to hit the gym for two hours or run a marathon. All you need is a 20-minute chunk of your day to do something that will benefit you both mentally and physically.

Physically, the benefits of working out couldn’t be more obvious. Even a light jog is enough to get your blood flowing and your heart racing. Just a few minutes of exercise every day will make a dramatic difference in your overall health, making you feel great and ready to take on anything.

On a mental note, exercise is also a great tool for clearing your mind. If the day starts to feel particularly stressful, it’s okay to take a break. But, instead of picking up your phone or sitting down for Netflix, why not go for a run or lift some weights?

5. Eat clean

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Time to head to your favorite grocery store, ladies … we have some nutritionally-conscious shopping to do! If you’re looking to do a haul of healthy groceries that don’t break the bank, I recommend starting at either Greenwise or Trader Joe’s. These are two of my favorite grocery stores because they have all the healthy ingredients I need without breaking the bank as I do sometimes at Whole Foods and Fresh Market! 

This step is crucial to your overall well-being in the process of getting your life on track. Food is your body’s fuel and it will respond appropriately to whatever you put in it. Aside from burning a hole in your wallet, eating out too much isn’t so great for your health either. If you’re craving chicken, grill some at home instead of going for the 8-count meal at Chick-fil-A. 

I know that as college students, we are constantly relying on sugary energy drinks and insane amounts of caffeine to keep us alive throughout the day. However, these drinks are actually doing far more harm for you than good. If you have a lot of work to do and need a boost, there are plenty of energy-packed snacks you could be turning to instead. So, instead of getting your energy from Red Bull and coffee, try some cleaner alternatives this week!