For this post I wanted to share a little bit more about my current work/school situation and offer some tips that have really helped me manage my workload over the past couple of years. Whether you’re in university, college or school or even just working a full time job, I’m sure you’ll find some of these tips helpful!
I’m in my final year of university, but have experience of studying full-time and working full-time. Now I intern part-time alongside my studies. This means that at any one time my workload is full-on. So, without further ado, I’ll go through some of the tricks and tips that I’ve found most helpful in terms of keeping on top of my work and maintaining a good balance between studying, working and of course having fun!
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
When you have a lot of different areas that you’re responsible for, I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan out your days. It’s really the only way you’re going to get everything you want done finished and actually keep track of what you’re doing. I literally plan my days out by the hour and I find this is the best way for me to stay motivated and on track to complete all of the tasks I set myself in a day.
One of my top tips is to keep a simple page-a-day diary to record all of your appointments, events and deadlines. Then you can really structure your day around what you have on and the things you actually want to do. For example, if I plan to go out for dinner one evening, then I need to make sure I complete my work ahead of time.
For university work and work work (I don’t really know how else to describe it!), I recommend using a scheduling app that you can have at your fingertips all day, both on your laptop and your phone. I like Todoist, because it allows me to input tasks and meetings effortlessly and you can have lots of different ‘inboxes’ so everything is organised. For example, I have a ‘Grapevine’ inbox (my part-time internship), a ‘University’ inbox and a ‘Blog’ inbox. I add the tasks and meetings I have into each inbox and I can check them off as and when I complete them. At the end of the day if you complete everything you reach ‘Todoist zero,’ which makes me feel VERY happy and accomplished.
I guess that the previous points are related to organisation, but if you make the effort to organise yourself with all of the little things in life, it’ll be so much easier to successfully do them! One of my top tips for being organised is to take a little notebook with you everywhere you go, so that if you think of any ideas or need to quickly scribble something down you can. This avoids notes getting lost or forgotten about on your phone.
Next I would say that you should make an effort to keep on top of your emails. It can be really daunting to open your inbox and see hundreds of unread emails. To make sure I don’t miss anything important I have four separate email accounts. Doing this means you only have to spend a small amount of time checking each and don’t have to sift through pages and pages of emails, nor do you get distracted by work things when you’re checking your personal emails.
This one is more of a life hack, but use your lighter days in the week to prepare for the upcoming week. For example I either use Saturday or Sunday, whichever is least hectic, to do things like grocery shopping and laundry. This makes those more mundane tasks so much more manageable throughout the week and frees up more time to actually concentrate on the work you need to do throughout the week.
Remember to have ‘me time’
Finally I just want to add that however big your workload, you need to know your limits and make sure you only sign up for what’s manageable for you. You also need to make sure your social life, mental health and wellbeing are just as much of a priority as work. That’s why keeping a personal diary is so important so that you can plan your work around your life.
Making time to let off steam and relax, whether it’s going to the cinema, a night out with friends or going to the gym makes you feel much more centred and happy and ready to take on your busy life. It’s also important that you are well rested and get enough sleep. Always make time to just be with yourself, even if it’s plugging in your headphones on the commute to work or uni, or reading your book for ten minutes before bed.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I would love to hear all of the ways you manage your time and stay organised! Comment below or tweet me @isobelmowen.