Tips for Balancing a Busy Schedule

Having a busy schedule can be exhausting. Learning how to stay up to speed while attempting to be successful at everything at once can be quite the challenge. Many people struggle with trying to balance school, work, extracurriculars, etc. Although no one way works for every person, I have a few tips that could be quite helpful. It’s taken me a long time to figure out a schedule that works for me and to find a system to overcome procrastination, being overwhelmed, and lack of motivation. All of these things are very common and actively affect many people every day. I am one of those people who struggle with these things, but these tips have impacted my life for the better!

1. Get a planner, get a planner, GET A PLANNER

  • Organization is key when balancing a busy schedule. It’s important to keep track of all of your events to stay on top of them and to be prepared. If you’re anything like me, I used to believe I could just remember everything I needed and not have to write anything down. This may very well be the case for you, but as someone who used to be in your place writing it all down is so worth it! What use is it to try and hold all of that information in your brain while you have so many other things to focus on? Trust me! It makes the world of difference not having that added stress, and it allows me to use that energy towards other things I enjoy. Even if you don’t always have your planner handy, you have a notepad at your fingertips at all times if you have a phone. You could even set yourself a reminder! One issue that I came across when I first started using a planner, and you might as well, is that I would write in it then forget to check it. You have to remember to check your planner daily! It may sound like a hassle, but it’s easier remembering to do one thing instead of trying to remember everything. Plus, it helps alleviate that feeling you forgot something! 
  • Not sure what to write in your planner? No worries! You should include due dates, assignments, test dates, work schedules, meeting times, appointments, or just important things you need to get done. 

Three pre-made meals in containers Photo by Ella Olsen from Pexels

2.    Meal prep for the week

  • This doesn’t have to be super fancy or a part of the fad diets. Simply plan what you’ll be eating for lunch/dinner during the week. If you can cook it ahead of time, that will save you time during the week, and it can help you balance your diet. This doesn’t have to be done all in one day. It can be as small as meal prepping lunch for the next day if you know you won’t have time to make anything. Keeping in mind your schedule is important while doing this, and it can help you decide when to prep that best suits you. 

3.    Schedule your days

  • Schedule which days will be your busy days and which will be your productive days. Ideally, you would want your productive days to be the days you have more free time. Your productive days are when you would do your assignments for the week ahead of time (or as much of them as you can), cleaning, or even meal prepping if you want! I also like to use some of my time on my productive day to do something I enjoy. This helps keep me motivated and also gives me some stress-free me time that I may not get often with my busy schedule. On your busy day, you want to have as little as possible to do…so on this day, just do select items that must be done that day (i.e. homework that’s due the next day or studying for a test). This will help you from being and feeling overwhelmed with classes and work you already have to get done. Everyone’s schedules will be different and be in constant flux, but as an example, I usually have about 3 productive days and 3 busy days in the week. This leaves one day, usually a weekend day, to choose to do whatever I please. This extra day could also be used as a rest day. We all need one from time to time! It’s important to plan breaks in your schedule, so you don’t feel burned out. Especially on a day that your schedule relies on you being productive! Scheduling my days has by far been the most effective aspect of balancing my workload and alleviating stress from my daily life. I urge you to try it and to commit to it for at least a week to see how impactful it can be!

hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash 4.    Tiny Bonus Tips

  • Have the textbook read aloud- One thing that I could never stay on top of with my schoolwork was reading the textbooks. It feels like a lot and can be overwhelming and time-consuming, considering all the other work and studying that has to get done. Losing focus can occur as reading these chapters in multiple textbooks can be exhausting. Many textbooks have the option of being read aloud, and I urge you to take advantage of that feature. If you can multitask while listening to the textbook, that’s a bonus for both you and your schedule. For example, I’ll often fold clothes or do the dishes while listening to the chapters. However, like most things, you will reach a point where you need a break so that you can recharge your focus, and that’s totally okay and normal!!
  • Cleaning- If you have trouble keeping up with your cleaning tasks and end up overwhelmed with too much to do and no time, try doing one task a day- no matter how big or small. This will lessen the load for you to do and will keep everything manageable. It also helps to pick up after yourself with everything immediately after you’re done with it. I know it sounds minuscule, but you’d be amazed at the difference it can make in your day to day life. A clean space is usually a more productive one!
  • Workouts- This may not be as important to everyone’s schedule, but it’s very important in mine. I always look forward to it, so I try my best to fit it into my schedule as much as possible! As much as I would like to go to the gym every day at the same time, it is just not feasible with my schedule. So instead, I try to go 3-4 times a week where I can fit it in. I have to include this outing in my scheduling and arrange my other responsibilities accordingly, so I can still get everything done that I need to. This applies to any activity you enjoy! Working out can also be very helpful in boosting your energy and allowing you to be more productive in other aspects of your life.  

pink yoga mat with two pink weights and other exercise equipment Photo by Elena Kloppenburg from Unsplash I can’t stress enough that everyone’s different as well as their schedules. Not everything works the same way for everyone. However, integrating and trying new things with your schedule could help you to develop a system that works best for you. It’s time to stop procrastinating and to stop letting your busy life overwhelm you. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it! It’s time to take control of your life and make it what you want it to be!