Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Balancing Act


Academics, extra curricular activities, greek life, social life, sleep, exercise, down time ...AHHH! There is so much to balance in a collegiate's life! What to prioritize?! When will you get it all done?! 

This is part of the adjustment to the college life. Half the battle is managing your time wisely. If you can handle that, you will succeed. So, what's the secret? That's what this post is all about, my friends!


Here's a little back story for you guys...In case you didn't know, I went to a performing arts high school, meaning that I would spend my days in academic classes and my evenings and weekends in the dance studio rehearsing for an upcoming production. I would be at school from 8:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night with only a 40 minute break for lunch and an hour break for dinner. I had to learn how to get things done in a timely fashion in order to be successful in all the components of my life. Here are the tips that I follow:



OHIO
No, we aren't singing the states song... This is a nifty acronym for a useful trick: 
Only Handle It Once. 
If you get an email, don't wait until later to respond to it. Handle it once. Hit reply after you read it and continue with your day. Our society has this belief that we can't respond to messages instantly. In the professional world, an instant response is a good thing. This trick can also be applied to random things to do: paper work, cleaning up your room, etc... My mom told me that her boss would always say "I like to touch a piece of paper once instead of letting them pile up." It makes a huge difference. 


Turn off the Distractions
Put down the phone. Close out the Pinterest tab. You will be more productive without distractions. If you take the time to respond to a text while you're in the middle of something, you could easily waste up to 20 minutes during an hour's worth of work. Your concentration will increase and will produce even better results.


Prioritize 
Figure out what's most important and go from their. Prioritizing is a direct link to time management: you have to figure out how to spend your time. If you give yourself longer "study breaks" than the actual studying, you might need to rethink your priorities. 


Work Smarter
A lot of people say to work HARDER. Hard work determines success. Yes, you have to work hard, but the real key is to work smart. Take the efficient path. Don't create more work for yourself, even if you think it's beneficial. 


Know when to say no 
It's so hard to turn down an activity or extra curricular. Sometimes you have to do it. If you have a lot of commitments to manage, your time spent to each commitment won't be worthy to the organization. Go back to what you prioritize and say "no" to things that you don't find a priority. 


Develop a Routine
I am the biggest creature of habit. But I find that having a routine helps keep me on track. I schedule out my homework in the morning so that I have time to relax in the evening. Depending on the day, I sometimes have to give myself more time to do certain tasks. Sticking to a routine will make your day more efficient and productive!


Make goals and commit
Making goals is one thing. Committing to them is another. Make them and stick to them. If you are going to spend the next hour working on your assignment, stick to that goal and finish it (turning off the distractions can help you commit).


Utilize the "dead time"
This is the biggest tip I have! A lot of people don't like to start on assignments in between classes because it's just not enough time. But I say, use the "dead time." I remember I would be sitting at the barre with 20 minutes in between my academic and dance class, trying to finish my physics homework for tomorrow. All of my other friends would socialize and waste time on their phones. I never take a minute for granted! Let's say I'm waiting 15  minutes for a friend to get out of class, I try to complete a calculus problem. Just imagine, four little fifteen minute gaps can equal to an hour's worth of homework. Take every minute for what's it worth!


Become the "early bird!"
The early bird catches the worm. Studies show that you are more productive and awake in the morning. I don't mean you should get up at the crack of dawn. Something that I do is tackle my hardest assignments while I'm in my room enjoying my cup of coffee before my first class. I find that I complete these assignments much easier when I'm awake instead of trying to knock them out in the evening. 


Treat Yourself! 
Oh my favorite. I am a huge believer in creating an incentive! I always try to reward my hard work with something enjoyable. For example, I love to watch The Tonight Show with  Jimmy Fallon every week night. So, I try to have all of my homework finished before 11:00 at night so that I can unwind from a productive day. You can also treat yourself while studying. Do a quick Instagram scroll after reading a section in your text book.


I hope you found these tips helpful! Thanks for reading!

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