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How I Learned to Love Being Busy

This semester, I’ve added quite a few activities to my schedule. I got a part-time job, took on a couple of leadership positions, and joined Her Campus, among other things. I used to think I needed endless amounts of free time in order to achieve an ideal work-life balance. Turns out, I actually like keeping busy.

Since bulking up my responsibilities, I’ve spent fewer hours sulking on social media and staying at home, and more time building skills and achieving my goals. As someone who once had a lot of spare time on her hands, I have a few tips about learning to manage and appreciate a busy schedule.

1. Google Calendar is your best friend.

I don’t think I fully appreciated the godsend that is Google Calendar until this semester. Whether you’re tracking classes, work shifts, assignments, or deadlines, put it in the calendar and color code like crazy. That way, all your schedules are in one aesthetically pleasing place.

2. Set reminders.

For daily tasks big and small, I like to use the Reminders app on my iPhone or create reminders in Google Calendar, but any way of tracking assignments works. Rather than keeping the long list of items I need to complete in my head, writing it all down helps me stay organized and feel less overwhelmed.

Silver macbook by planner and flowers
Pexels / Alana Sousa

3. Compartmentalize.

When you think about or write out all the things you have to accomplish in the next week or month, it can feel daunting and impossible. Instead, take each day one at a time and figure out what you want to achieve in smaller doses. Not everything can or needs to happen all at once.

4. Fit downtime into your schedule.

It’s important to find pockets throughout the day for downtime. For me, that means waking up a little earlier and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. For others, that could mean sipping afternoon tea or watching YouTube videos before bed. Especially on a packed day, taking a well-deserved moment to relax keeps you afloat.

5. Be proud of yourself.

When dealing with a crowded to-do list, it’s easy (and sometimes necessary) to focus on all the things you have yet to accomplish. However, taking a second to reflect on the goals you have achieved is equally important.

MacBook Air beside gold-colored study lamp and spiral books
Arnel Hasanovic / Unsplash

Keeping busy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, I’ve found a busy lifestyle to be incredibly empowering. If you want to add more to your plate without becoming a complete wreck, there are several ways to make it happen. By tracking schedules, making to-do lists, compartmentalizing, relaxing, and reflecting on accomplishments, you can take charge of your busy schedule — and enjoy it too.

Jennifer Anderson

UC Berkeley '22

Jennifer Anderson is a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Media Studies and History. Outside of school, you can find her rewatching Glee for the 20th time, trying out new dessert recipes, and exploring the Bay Area.