Life was easy in grade school. I woke up at 7, started school around 8:30 and came home at 3:30. I did extracurricular activities, but for the most part, my schedule was the same. Being a graduate student, my schedule is anything but simple. I am now the proud owner of three planners! I have a main planner (to tell me where I need to be, what’s due, & includes my to do list), one for school assignments, and my iCal (it’s always on me & it catches what the main planner missed & vice versa). I love my main planner because breaks the day down by hour so I have a visual of what my day really looks like. I am always scheduling my days and weeks so I always know what I’m going to be doing.
Honestly, planning is one of my strengths. It allows me to work multiple jobs, take four graduate courses, have an internship, have me time, and still manage to go to Disneyland every other week. Some days it’s not uncommon that I leave my house at 7:30am and don’t return until 10:30pm, so it’s crucial that when I’m walking out the door at 7:30, that I have everything I need for the day. My schedule is crazy and all over the place. Learning how to balance everything I want to get done and everything I need to get done was a challenge. Having to choose homework and replying to emails over watching season 4 of Parks and Rec is the worst (honestly, I’m still trying to multitask with this). But I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I know what kind of schedule I thrive in and I (almost) know how to plan it.
Not all of my days (or weeks) are the same. This makes creating my ideal week difficult. While my class times are concrete, the majority aspects of my schedule aren’t. There are several days where I might just have a three-hour work commitment and then I’m home the rest of the day. There are other days where it seems like everything got scheduled that day and I might have only 30 minutes to myself. One way I try and add some consistent structure to my day is by having my morning coffee while getting ready, my lunch and dinner at the same time, and time when I get home to read. Ideally, I’d love to wake up at 6:30 and have a jump on my day. But I love sleep and can’t get myself to get out of bed even if I set my alarm for it. I typically start work at 8am, so I try to give myself enough time in the morning that I can leave without having to save something for when I come home in three hours and without having to rush because I really hate being late.
When I plan my days, I always plan around my concrete obligations. When I want to get coffee, I make sure that somewhere during my day I can. I plan my priorities and things that are important to me around my concrete obligations, because sometimes trips to get coffee or go to Target are little breaks in the hectic day. Prioritizing what you want to do in the day is important because it helps make a long day go by faster. I often use my priorities as incentives to get through my to do list. I’m more inclined to clear my inbox, reply to all my emails, and study for a quiz if it means I get to go do something I enjoy like Pilates.
I really enjoy being busy. It keeps me productive and on top of my to do list. When I’m busy, I get all of my work done. Because if I only have an hour available to complete my homework, I’m going to make sure it gets done; which ensures that I don’t get distracted and watch House during that hour instead.
But don’t get me wrong, I love having time to spend at home and relax. I need at least one day in my week where I can do whatever I want without any concrete obligations. If I have too many of these days, I get really bored. This is when I start applying for more jobs because I need to fill all of this free time and I need something to do. I go shopping and then have to redo my budget for the month because of it. I hate being bored and try to avoid it.
While it’s important to me to stay busy, I definitely make an attempt to spend time with friends because I hate being too tired to hang out with them. I love when I have lunch scheduled with several friends throughout the week because it adds a nice break to the hectic day. Sometimes, I make plans to do homework with my friends because at least I get to spend time with them!
I might be crazy, but I really value being efficient and maximizing every minute I have for what I need/want to get done.
“We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third”
– Leslie Knope