Managing time and striking a balance
I hope you are all doing okay and taking care of yourselves. I wanted to take a minute and write about managing your time effectively and efficiently, especially during a time like this, when your typical routines are all gone. However, I’m going to try and move away from talking about the coronavirus situation because I think we’ve heard enough about it and need to have a break and start thinking positively. So, my tips and experiences that I am going to lay out in this post are applicable to anybody at any time!
Something that I have been doing from high school is trying to juggle extracurricular activities and my academics and this has passed on to university as well. Throughout my first year so far, I have been a part of two societies as a team member and have been attending numerous events from many societies. I was able to handle this effectively alongside my academics because it wasn’t too much of a commitment to handle. But now, near the end of first year, as I step into more leadership roles, I find it important to plan my time more to ensure I am doing enough for all my commitments.
I am currently juggling 3 society roles and also have my coursework due (2 assignments and 2 tests!). If not for coronavirus, I would have also been studying for exams but now as a first year, my exams are cancelled so I guess that’s one thing off my plate. While it seems like a lot to handle, I have found the perfect balance that works for me by splitting my time and efforts properly and planning out my day.
I find it useful to add any meetings that I have on my phone calendar and also add any other work to my calendar as this helps limit me from spending too long on one task. Writing down my tasks in a to-do list also helps because I know what I need to do and when. For example, today, I had 2 meetings and also needed to spend some time studying for my upcoming tests (also needed some time for this blog post!).
Besides what I’ve mentioned so far, which I’m sure a lot of people already do, it can be useful to use a prioritization square. You can divide your tasks into 4 categories based on timeline and effort needed so that you can do your easiest and most urgent tasks first and go through the rest accordingly. Another way to stay focused and productive is to minimize distractions – I would have suggested uninstalling some social media but I realize this is an important way of communication in these times. So, don’t worry if you’re spending more time on social media than usual; just make sure you find your balance. Also try working with a friend, even if it’s remote, to set goals and check in with each other on your progress as this accountability will help you focus and finish your tasks.
But most importantly, I think it’s good to take short regular breaks from studying or working to relax and destress. In these times, what I’ve been doing to relax is pretty much what everyone else is doing – watching Netflix, spending time with my family, talking to friends and baking! It’s also important to go outside and get some fresh air and exercise if this is possible within the local regulations. Even before this situation, I would do these things to relax (although not so much baking) so I think treating this time like any other can help us bring some sense of normalcy to our lives. Finding a good routine and sticking to it can help relieve stress and get you through this high uncertainty situation.
If you find yourself not knowing how to spend your time or not having things to do, check out my other posts for ideas!