Hey all! I’m beyond thrilled for today’s guest blog post, written by the lovely Kayla Morgan. Time management is a struggle for so many of us and I’m very grateful Kayla is sharing her tips on managing it all on the blog today. Whether you’re headed back to school or want to work on work/life balance, this post is chock-full of helpful tips:
Guest Blogger Kayla Morgan’s 3 Tips to Managing a Hectic Schedule
You may have one job, you may have three. Either way, you are reading this because you are thinking that there is not enough time in the day. There are too many tasks to be completed in everyday life, and you know that something has to change for the sake of your sanity. Fear not and try not to get overwhelmed! I am here to spread some knowledge on how to manage a booked schedule. Who am I? I am Kayla Morgan of West Chester, PA.
I work 20 hours a week at TribeSound Records developing a new music publishing branch, and 40 hours of my week are spent serving at PF Chang’s. Like my lovely host Camille, I am also an active blogger. With most of the week occupied by careers or blogging, there is a limited amount of time left in the week for “free time.” Most people with limited days to themselves will agree that the term “free time” is laughable when referring to a majority of time spent outside of work. You are outside of work, but not free of responsibilities. Get mad at the world with me for a moment before I continue on. Why is everything so expensive?! Why can’t I just become immediately successful without trying??? Why didn’t I marry rich??! Are you done? Great, me too. Let’s get to business.
Tip 1: Schedule out your week and block out time for designated activities.
If you are one of those people that believe that they can navigate through life without writing anything down or using a calendar: you’re kidding yourself. The way that you organize your life does not have to look like how anyone else organizes their life; my own organization included! Find an organization method that works for you, but you must organize. There are scheduling apps available for your phones, like these 9 recommended apps you can read about here. You could also print out an online weekly, monthly, or daily calendar from online. Personally, I recommend bullet journaling. By physically writing down your schedule, you are actively thinking about what your week or month will look like. You will also get these comprehensive benefits from filling in a printed calendar as well. I go for the bullet journal because it puts an artistic flare on what would otherwise feel to me like a mundane task.
Start out by blocking out the times that are non-negotiable: work schedules, fitness classes, doctor’s appointments, and other time sensitive responsibilities. Blocking out specific times to sleep is an option, but personally I like this aspect to be more negotiable. For example, if I’m not feeling particularly sleepy yet at 9:30 PM, it is okay to go to sleep at 10 instead. As long as I am getting the 8 hours of sleep that I know I function best at, this is one aspect that I allow some wiggle room in. Around the definitive blocks are where you can write in other tasks that need to be completed. You have two hours after work to kill before picking up someone at the airport. How will you fill this time? Write down the chore or hobby you’d like to complete in that time, and you will find yourself feeling accomplished.
Tip 2: Set rules for yourself and stick with them
What are your bad habits? What is preventing you from living a healthier lifestyle? If your goal is to go to the gym more to get in shape, what steps are you taking to make room for fitness with your busy schedule? One personal goal for my year was to spend less money on eating out. This means that I need to cook for myself on a weekly basis. With all my schedule blocked out, I had 3 time slots in my week to designate for cooking. What else did I want to accomplish in my week? I also wanted to attend my weekly Zumba class in one of the time slots, and use the other time slot to spend time with friends or family. This leaves me with one available day for cooking, which happens to be Sunday morning. Right at the start of the week, how convenient!
This being said, I had to make a rule for myself that meal prep must be done on Sunday mornings. Not following through with my goal would mean spending way more money that week than I would want to, and most likely not eating meals as nutritious. At the end of the busy week, do I sometimes want to spend my Sunday morning sleeping until 1PM? Of course. These days are the ones where it is crucial to remind yourself of the consequences of what will happen if you don’t. Do you want to learn to play an instrument? Study the empty time available around your blocked out times, designate realistic times for practicing, and do your best to stick to the time you have blocked out for that task. Don’t feel like it? That day will be one step further from learning your instrument. If you’re having trouble getting motivated, try breaking up your goals into smaller goals. Learn a new chord each day, and by the end of the week you will have learned 7!
Tip 3: Maintain a good support system and “Treat Yo’self”
Life isn’t all about being productive all the time; life is about more than just being successful in our careers and having clean houses. Keep your priorities in check by scheduling time with your support system, AND time to yourself. Time with your support system is important for your mental health and stress levels. For me personally, my support system is my friends, family and boyfriend. At one point, my support system included a counselor, and group therapy. Find people to support you, and include them in your schedule. Locking yourself away from your support systems may lead to a decreased mood, and thus makes it harder to get yourself motivated to make the most of your limited time. For more information on how a good support system is crucial to maintain a healthy mental state, read here.
Make sure you have time to unwind with sweet nothing-ness every once in a while. There is nothing wrong with splurging on a night in with your cat and a movie. You don’t owe anyone your time. Your alone time and relaxation methods may be different than mine, but I am a strong believer that down time is valuable for those with crazy schedules. Personally, I love a night that marathons The Office while I sporadically nap. For you, your night could include bubble baths and a book; a family sized bag of chips and a manicure. If it helps you unwind, make time for it.
Life is about balance. Slay in your career and in your personal life, but let loose too! When it feels like there is too much on your plate, slow down and write it out. Tasks seem much more reasonable when they are dealt with one at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses and demands of your career and personal goals. There will always be aspects of life that you feel like you can improve on, so be honest with yourself! If you feel like you are progressing, you are on the right track.
Thank you so much for sharing your tips, Kayla!