Managing Work, Life, and Extracurriculars
Being a young adult means you have the freedom to do what you want to do with your time. It also means that you will have a lot of time commitments to handle. You have the power to choose what you want to do, and when you want to do it.
Be careful with all of your new freedom, time is limited. There are only so many hours in a day, and there is only so much you can do. It is your job to make sure you are doing everything you want (or should) be doing. Here are some tips to help you manage your busy schedule and maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Managing Your Schedule
There are a number of things you can do to plan ahead and manage your schedule. Doing this will help you stay on top of your work, and have time for yourself and your friends. Here are some ways to help you get your schedule organized:
- Keep a planner to keep track of all assignments, commitments, and activities.
- Have a monthly calendar. Use this calendar to plan out the month. Here you will want to put down the major assignments, papers, and exams coming up. This way you will have an overview of what is coming and what you have to plan for. Also, put down holidays and any major trips you are going on. This will help you see the big picture for the year.
- Have a weekly calendar. Each week, block out hours that you are going to spend preparing for the major academic assignments. Also, include time for eating, sleeping, class, socializing, appointments, activities, and other commitments.
- Each weekend, make a new schedule for the coming week. The schedule will help you work towards preparing for the major assignments that you put on your monthly calendar.
- If you realize that you have too many assignments due on the same day, it is okay to ask for an extension. Just make sure you ask in advance!
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Work Life Balance
Work life balance is exactly what it sounds like. It is making sure your life is balanced. For adults, this often means making sure you are not spending 90% of your day working with only a small amount left for yourself.
It is easy to get so busy with things that life starts to feel like it is out of control. Your performance in different areas of your life as well as your emotional well being can benefit from a balanced life.
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How to Achieve Balance
Achieving a healthy balance may be different for each person. Many people have different lifestyles and different areas in which they need to make adjustments. However, here are some basic tips that can help balance any lifestyle.
- Prioritize: Not everything can get done at once, decide what is important and work on that first. Maybe even drop some of the less important activities/clubs if you don't have time – you can pick them up at a later time.
- Time Management: Organize your time. When you say you are going to do something, then do it! Do homework in a distraction-free environment – use social media once you are finished. Distractions and multi-tasking can cause your attention to shift, which will cause you to spend more time refocusing.
- Leave Work with Work: If you are relaxing, RELAX! Don't think about all you have to do, or you are just going to stress yourself out more, you deserve to relax every once in awhile.
- Set Realistic Goals: You're not going to be the best at everything, accept that and direct your energy to a couple areas of your life. Trying to be the best at every little thing will leave you stressed, exhausted, and probably disappointed.
- Learn to Say No: You won't be able to take on everything, learn to say no to activities that you just don't have time for this week. You can try them another time.
- Know How to Handle Stress: Knowing how to deal with stress when it comes your way is helpful. The less stress you have, the better you will be able to function.
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Know When to Seek Help
If you are feeling overwhelmed, talking to others can help. Everyone needs help from time to time, and reaching out for this help is normal. The following signs may indicate that you are feeling stressed, and you may want to ask for help:
- Exaggerated irritability
- Withdrawing from social interaction
- Increased signs of distracted behavior, forgetfulness, and confusion
- Experiencing anxiety and/or depression
- Changes in sleep
- Emotional outburst and crying
- Excessive worry and fear
There is not just one way to get help. You can talk to a variety of people including peers, help hotlines, counselors, religious figures, advisors and therapists.
Many colleges have school counselors available who can help you with your class schedule or time management. You may also have access to group therapy or individual sessions with a school psychologist. If this is an option for you, try scheduling an appointment to see if it helps.
If you are not a student, speak to a trusted adult or make an appointment with your healthcare provider. You may also check online to see if your county offers free or low-cost therapy through public interest mental health providers.
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