How to Make Time for Everything You Want

I want to start off this post by taking a poll. How many of you have ever opened up YouTube or Google only to type in the search bar “how to get your life together?” If you're anything like me, this occurs every new year, every semester and every time you're having a mental breakdown from school or work and are looking for an excuse to “productively” procrastinate some more. Luckily, after successfully binge-watching everything from YouTube videos, to podcasts, to blog posts, I’ve compiled my own list of a few fool-proof ways to be the girl who does it all. 

Declutter Physically and Digitally

I don’t know about you, but when my space is a mess so is my mind; there’s no way I'm going to be able to get anything done when my bedroom looks like a herd of gazelles trampled through it. Lately, though, I've found that by going through everything and getting rid of what I know I don’t need or use has helped so much in not only making it easy to keep my space clean but also in reducing the stress of having so many material items. Now I'm not saying you’ve got to go full minimalist or only have a 10 piece capsule wardrobe, but the harsh truth is that you really don't need six planners for the same year (no matter how cute they are).

As for a digital declutter, if your laptop or phone is just a jumbled mess of downloaded assignments and random notes, not only are you going to end up losing something, but that something might end up being your mind. Here are a couple of ideas of what to organize on your digital devices:

Photos

Get the Google Photos app so your pictures automatically back up and you don't have 3,000 saved onto your phone, taking up space.

Notes app 

You know that note from two months ago reminding you to pick up avocados from Publix? Yeah, I think it's safe to say you can delete that one.

Desktop

For your mental sanity, please make some folders on your home screen and organize your assignments, notes and papers into there (bonus points for doing this in Google Drive). This way, your desktop isn't a jumbled mess of downloaded files and you can clearly see your aesthetic wallpaper.

Emails

 As I (lovingly) yelled at my boyfriend for last week, there's no reason you should have 2,224 unread emails — get that inbox down to zero. If you really need to keep something, make a separate folder for important messages.

Make a Game Plan

So this is the part where you sit down with your notebook, laptop or whiteboard and brain dump every single goal you want to accomplish in the next year (or five if you're feeling especially ambitious). Warren Buffet actually has a method where you start by listing out 25 goals and then circle five that are the most important to you. This way, once you’ve analyzed your priorities and narrowed your list down to five, you can put the rest on the back burner because they don't matter as much in comparison. These you can finish once you've accomplished your top priority goals. 

My top five end up coming down to career advancement, health & fitness, excelling in school, fostering good relationships and keeping up with my mental health. This list is going to become very important when we get to time-blocking in the planning section. 

Tracking Your Time

The last step before we get into the actual planning is going to be paying attention to how you're using your time. Often it becomes super easy for us to lose track of how much time we’re spending on inconsequential activities, like scrolling through Insta or binge-watching Gilmore Girls (my guilty pleasure). But take a day or two throughout your week to actually take notes of everything you're doing and for how long you're doing it; you may be really surprised to find out just how much of your day you've wasted where you could have been working on things that really matter to you.

Time-Blocking Within your Calendar 

As we get into the fun part of actually planning out your week or month, it is important to make sure you have a planner that actually works for you. I know that personally, as cute as physical planners are, they just don’t work for me. I end up using them for a month and then getting tired or bored with them. My go-to planning tool has always been (and will always be) Google Calendar. Life, no matter what stage you're at, changes so much that it's easier to just move around blocks of time rather than reaching for the white-out or trying to erase appointments from your calendar. 

Here are some of my essential tips when using Google Cal and Time Batching:

  • Color code! Color coding within your schedule makes it so much easier to decipher and super easy to see on the go. Assign a color to each of your five goals/priorities and stick to that color when inputting things into your calendar. Fun Fact: you can actually alter the colors within Google Cal to match your aesthetic, you don't have to use the standard colors they give you to choose from.

  • Treat anything you put into your calendar like an appointment. Don't put anything in your calendar unless it has a designated start and end time or else it will be easy for you to move it or push it to the back of your priority list. Hold yourself accountable to show up to your personal “appointments.”

  • Schedule in time to do specific assignments, not just “homework.” When you allow a certain amount of time to do each assignment, it prevents you from just doing a random amount of homework and pushing the rest to the side because you don't feel like it or because you’ll “get it done later.”

  • Write down the little things! Even if it is as simple as spending 30 minutes just to tidy up your room or clean the kitchen, schedule it in. The mundane tasks are probably the easiest to just not do and substitute for some Netflix, so dedicate some time to do these little things.

  • Make time for social outings and actually put them into your calendar. When you're so focused on other things such as school, work and other commitments, it is important to remember to give yourself time to hang out with friends too! My personal tip is to plan to get all of your schoolwork or other projects done by Thursday, if you can. That way, you have Friday and the weekend to relax and go out with friends without the stress of an assignment due Saturday night. 

  • Don't forget about self-care! I know how easy it is to forget to take time for yourself, but if you're not functioning properly, nothing else in your life will. Take the time to pick up an old hobby you didn't have time for, journal or treat yourself to a nail appointment or coffee trip. Don't neglect your own mind and body!

Those are probably my top tips for now (if I don't want this post to turn into the length of a novel). Here is how I use these tips within my own Google Calendar. Good luck!