Creating a Work Life Balance
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to make time for everything. Juggling academics, extracurriculars, jobs, friends, family, relationships and alone time seems almost impossible; and it’s usually our personal life that takes the hit. As a freshman, I found it extremely difficult to maintain a work-life balance without sacrificing one for the other. After much trial and error I’ve found a few methods that work well for me when it comes to structuring my day and garnering more control over my time, so I wanted to share a few of them here today.
Schedule your day.
This is a frequently cited tool and one most people rely on. Whether it’s a simple to-do list for the day, or an e-calendar with time blocks allocated for each task, scheduling and structuring your day can prove beneficial. For me personally, writing down what I need to get done prior to each day results in less anxiety and I can create a plan to complete my tasks. Time blocking is a great strategy for scheduling meetings, but it also comes in handy when allocating time off to see friends, do assignments or run errands. If you give yourself all day to do one task, you’ll likely use up all day. Time blocking and streamlining your day results in more productive, concise hours of work or time off since you know when exactly to start and end one task.
Whether these be personal or professional, it's important not to say yes to too many things and clutter up your schedule. Scheduling more things than you can handle will often lead to less efficient work and less time off. You might end up distracted by the next thing you need to do and end up feeling overwhelmed. After a few weeks of scheduling your time, you’ll gain a sense of how many day-to-day responsibilities you can handle. From there, you can create realistic schedules and allocate time off accordingly.
I often find myself trying to multi-task several things at once in an attempt to finish all my tasks faster. What this does instead is lead to sloppy work and interrupted time off. I’ve found that it’s much more effective to truly be present in the times you’ve set off work, and fully productive during the times you’re working. Attempting to mix the two is easy to fall into when your mind and day feels cluttered and overbooked, but reminding yourself to stay present and thoroughly compartmentalise your time and tasks is an effective strategy.