How to Manage a Hectic School Year
The fall of my senior year of college was the definition of hectic. I attended school full-time, worked part-time, gave school tours for the Admissions Office, was the president of a service fraternity on campus, and spent several hours a week observing in a local high school. And my roommate turned out to be the devil, so there was that, too.
It was an insane time in my life. I’m happy to look back on it now, but it was not fun to live through. Phone calls with my mom, a lot of chocolate, and some key organization got me through that hectic semester.
I’m sure you can think of a time in your own life when school, work, family, or all of the above came together at the worst possible time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and want to let Jesus take the wheel. (BTW, that’s horrible driving advice.) Whether it’s a few weeks, a season, or years, we have to get through crazy busy years.
When life gets crazy busy, there steps you can take to wrest back some control and help yourself through a hectic school year. Whether you’re a student, teacher, or parent I have some tips for you!
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How to Manage a Hectic School Year
Focus on the Essentials
While you love handing out with friends on Saturday nights, you might have to put those outings on hold for a while. You can’t actually do everything. You have to decide what is most important to you and focus on those essentials. All the other stuff will wait.
This is the only way I made it through grad school. I scheduled as much of my time as possible. And I knew what I was supposed to accomplish during each time. It’s called time blocking and it is amazing!
If you don’t already have a paper planner or a calendar app, this is the time to get one. For a paper planner, I use the personal-sized Academic Planner from Order Out of Chaos. Instead of “classes”, I use the space for different aspects of my schedule – blog, tutoring, family, etc.
I use Google calendar as well, especially for my business. There are a ton of calendar apps you can use. If you have a significant other and/ or children, get a calendar that accommodates everyone. And make sure you and your significant other both use it!
Whatever you use – paper planner, calendar app on your phone, time blocking spreadsheet – schedule a time each weekend to review the last week and get ready for the week ahead.
Organize, organize, organize
This is also the time to get as organized as possible. Think of all your commitments and brainstorm all the stuff you need to accomplish those tasks. Maybe it’s a dedicated workspace at home or soccer equipment or a drop zone for your family. The time to create that study space or drop zone is NOW.
Also, think about some digital organizing. Get rid of apps you don’t use (or suck up all your time) and create some folders in your Google Drive. The goal is that you can easily find the files you need WHEN you need them!
Consider routines in your life that will make you more efficient. Or at least make it easier to run on autopilot some days. I love a good morning and evening routine. If you have kids, there are family routines you can start that will save you time, as well.
If you try to push 24/7 and do all the things, you will burn out fast. That’s why prioritizing is so important – let go of the things and commitments that just aren’t your focus right now.
You need to take care of yourself. While I wouldn’t turn down a facial or a massage, real self-care goes way beyond these. Self-care means structuring your life to support yourself in the best way possible.
Creating a livable schedule, getting enough sleep and exercise, and caring for your physical and mental health are ways you can set yourself up for success. These practices take time to set up and keep going, but you will be happier and more productive in the end because of them.
You should definitely add some of those self-soothing activities like a massage, walk, or binging Netflix sometimes, too. Just don’t think that’s all you can do for yourself.
I hope this helps you take control of your crazy to-do list and manage this year better.