I work full time and I am taking three classes this semester for my MBA. I would love to hire someone to do my homework for me and meet with my groups for class. Also, a personal chef and personal trainer would be great. Sadly, I do not have the money for that so I have to figure out a way to get everything done.
My typical Monday is, work 8-5, school 6-9, homework 9-10 (while eating dinner), then shower, make my to do list, and try to be asleep before midnight. Sometimes it feels like I will never get it all done.
Prioritize Your To-Do Lists (in advance)
I make a to-do list (currently on long post-its) for the next day every night before I go to bed. I make two lists: one is the MUST do tomorrow (appointment reminders, cook dinner, complete statistics homework, crucial work assignments) and other is for things I would like to get to if I have time.
The reason I make two lists is because sometimes I get overwhelmed if I have 20 things on a list. I found when I have 20 things on a list I am less likely to even to 5 (yeah that’s bad). When I have 5 tops things on a list I am more likely to get all 5 done! Then I can look at the other list of things I would like to get to.
Questions to ask yourself when you writing down your priorities:
- Does this get me closer to my goal?
- Does this really matter?
- Does this lighten my mental load?
- Does this have to be done today?
I do this at night because it helps me clear my head of things I must get done so I can sleep. I know my priorities are written down so I won’t forget.
Make Time to Prepare For Your Week
Your prep day doesn’t have to be a Sunday. It can be a Wednesday if that works better for you. You can plan until the next Wednesday. Or you can plan two weeks or a month at a time and then just adjust as needed. The important thing is to find what works for you.
A prep day (and by day, I mean like max a few hours) gives you time to try to plan your week (meetings, appointments, meals) so that you have less to do during the week. This helps me feel less overwhelmed during the week because I know what I should be doing. Obviously plans changes and I might need to adjust my preparations but having a basic outline or plan helps keep me sane.
I use the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley as my daily planner. It has a place for your meals, to do list, appointments, and weekly prep. It is important to learn when your high-energy time is. When you figure this out (morning, afternoon, weekends) schedule your priorities for when you have the most energy. If you are interested in checking out this AMAZING planner click here. She just launched her new planners and I love the new covers! The academic calendar year planners are out now and the calendar year planners will be out Sept 6th!
I also use PowerSheets by Lara Casey as my goal planner. I usually look at my goal planner before I plan my week to see if I can include any of my monthly or weekly goals. This is important because I want to make sure I am including the steps necessary to reach my yearly goals.
Things to remember to plan for your week:
-Appointments: Doctor, work, car, school
-Studying/Homework: What days will be your (or your children’s) study/homework days?
-Meal Plan/Prep: At least plan your meals for the week. I write down what I will eat for lunch and dinner for that week and then make my grocery list based on that. It helps me not overspend on my groceries. I am not quite at the meal prep stage but hopefully will get there one day.
-Laundry/Cleaning: I write down which days I will do laundry or clean certain rooms so that it is on a list. If it is not on a list it will not get done.
Questions to ask yourself as you plan this week:
- What worked last week? What didn’t work?
- Did you achieve your goals from last week? Did you stick to your plan?
- What adjustments do you need to make?
- Are there any tasks you need to follow-up on from last week?
Don’t over commit and don’t push yourself too hard. I struggle with this a lot. I want to do everything (or feel I must do everything). My original goal for 2017 was to find 2-3 different organizations to volunteer for this year. I signed up to be a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters and I love it. With my full time job, taking 3 classes this semester, and also finding time to eat/sleep/cook/clean, I decided I couldn’t add anything else to my plate. I have always struggled with saying no. I feel I must help everyone and do everything. Saying no has relieved so much stress and most people can relate and definitely understand.
Tips for saying no:
- Don’t Wait: Don’t leave your friend or coworker hanging. If you know you can’t go or need to say no don’t wait.
- Briefly Explain Why: You can just say you have a busy week or if you have a close relationship you can explain why you are saying no.
- Propose Something or Someone Else: If you know someone else who can help (and you know they would want to) you can offer them or you can propose another time.
- Don’t Look Back: Do not focus on any regret or guilt you will feel for saying no. Focus on the positive outcome of saying no.
The key is to prioritize what is a must and what is important. Do what you can to prep and prepare for your busy schedule but remember that you also need to live in the moment. Plans change. You never know when a curve-ball will be thrown your way. Focus on your end goal and adjust along the way. Progress is better than perfection. Both good and bad phases do not last forever so keep going. You’ve got this.
What are some things you to do help with your busy schedule? What planner do you use?