Between being a part-time or full-time student, the weight of classwork and studying, joining various clubs and organizations, or even potentially balancing a job, college life can become very hectic, very quickly. Too much work all at once can leave one feeling incredibly overwhelmed and exhausted. So how does one go about keeping their college life balanced and together?
Step One: Take a Step Back When you start feeling overwhelmed, simply take a step away from it all. Get up and move away from your workspace and relax. While your work is incredibly important, it is more important to keep your mental health in check. Without a stable mental health, it becomes much harder to work efficiently and effectively. This can further any frustrations you may already be having and make the situation worse.
Step Two: Reassess Your Situation It is important to remember that Step One is not meant to create a long period of procrastination but to create a short break for the mind. Once you have calmed down enough, it is time to reapproach the situation with a clearer head. You will need to ask yourself some important questions about what is on your plate without trying to deal with any of them at the moment. For example: What tasks do you have on your plate? When do they occur/are they due? Which are most/least important?
Step Three, Part One: Organize Your Plate Hopefully you have written down a “rough draft” of all of the tasks on your plate. When you begin to organize your plate, you should first decide how you want to organize it. Do you want to plan out your month, week, or day? Do you only want to plan out your current tasks, or do you want to plan ahead as well? The answers to these questions may vary depending on your situation. Once you have decided on how you want to organize your plate, you can begin on rearranging your tasks.
There are many different ways to organize your plate, and you should use whatever way works best for you! You may prefer to use digital means to put your thoughts together; this is a convenient way to keep track of your tasks no matter where you go. However, you may prefer to use a planner or an assortment of planners. While some can be pocket-sized for ease of travel, there are also some to cover your entire wall! You may even decide to use colorful pencils, pens, or markers to organize your planner(s)!
Step Three, Part Two: Rearrange Your Tasks Your tasks will more than likely be rearranged by day(s), time(s), and its importance ranking. For example: If you had an important paper due on Thursday night but your friend also wanted to go out to the movies that night, you would probably set your first task to be finishing the paper and then going to the movies with your friend. The paper cannot be put off any later than Thursday night whereas you can reschedule a better night to go to the movies with your friend.
Step Four: Check Off Your Tasks, and Empty Your Plate! Once your tasks have all been organized and rearranged, you are ready to start completing them and clearing off your plate! It helps to keep tabs on all of the tasks you have completed and have yet to complete; this will help your plate to remain organized without any tasks falling off and getting left out. Furthermore, checking off the completed tasks will also provide a sense of accomplishment and keep your motivation going!
You may get extra tasks added in or tasks removed, but it just means that you might need to redo your plate to get everything back in order. If it feels like too much is changing all at once, you can always go back through the steps from the beginning. Always remember that a level head will keep your plate balanced!
These steps may not help for everyone, and you may even need to tweak them to fit your lifestyle. However, these are the exact same steps that I follow whenever my plate feels too heavy to hold, and I am a Virgo! No matter who you are or where you are on your organization journey, I wish you all the best! And who knows, maybe this can help in other aspects of your life as well. Stay safe!