Living with a fairly serious chronic illness while also working full-time and going to graduate school part-time has forced me to learn about time management. There are a limited number of hours in a day or week, and it can be difficult to manage your personal life, social life, and deadlines from work and school that come up – but it’s possible! I’m sharing what I learned below.
- Write down your schedule
This sounds simple and obvious, but I think it’s really important. You don’t necessarily need to write things down in a paper planner – you can use your phone or Google calendar – but it needs to be recorded somewhere! Don’t just write down actual appointments or classes, but also include deadlines and due dates, tasks you don’t want to forget about, and social activities, too. It’s much easier to plan when you can see your schedule in front of you, and helps you not miss things! Since I’ve been in graduate school for so long now, the semesters start to blend together – my calendar is key to make sure I go to the right class at the right time, and that I don’t schedule a work meeting during class time.
This isn’t always the easiest, but it’s necessary. This goes along with writing down your schedule and due dates. Once you take stock of what is due in the next week, look at your schedule and your assignments, and figure out what is due earliest, and what is going to take you the longest and require the most effort. You may want to go to see a movie that your friend invited you to, but if you have a paper or big presentation that you should be working on, it’s probably not the best idea. And that brings me to…
- Know your limits
You can’t do everything! You had to be okay with saying no, and be okay with having to miss out on some things. I know that we talk about fear of missing out (FOMO), and I totally get that it’s a real thing! It’s no fun to see your friends posting on Instagram about going out while you’re stuck studying. But if you try to do everything, you’ll end up getting no sleep, and that’s not sustainable over the long run – you can really make yourself sick; your body can only handle so much. This is something I’ve really had to adjust to – I get tired a lot easier because of my SMA, so I always need to keep this in mind and know when I need to say “no.”
Does anyone else struggle with time management? Leave your tips in the comments below!