Since I just graduated with my Family Nurse Practitioner degree a week ago, I thought a good blog post would be how to stay organized and on track when you are living a busy lifestyle. Everyone is busy, but some people have more time to dedicate to their hobbies then others. So how do you get it all done when you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off? Going to school full time, going to clinical rotations, working full time, taking care of my family, AND prepping for shows left me on a non-stop schedule, so I had to get creative to make sure I got all my work done while still making time for my food prep and workouts. Below are some of the things I do to help keep me organized:
- GET A PLANNER! I make myself a little “to-do” list everyday in my planner and also write down appointments, etc. Breaking up my weekly list of things I need to accomplish down into a day by day format helps me to not feel overwhelmed and to make sure I am prioritizing what needs to be done. In my planner I write down when school assignments are due, when I have appointments, tasks I want to accomplish that day, and any other little reminders I need. I keep my planner out on my counter at all times so I am looking at it every day and constantly being reminded of what needs to be done – if I don’t write it down, I forget it, so having it out in the open all the time is very helpful for me!
- DON’T OVER PLAN! One of my biggest mistakes is breaking off more then I can chew, so to speak. When so much needs to get it done, it’s easy to plan to get a lot done in one day, but remember that there are only so many hours in a day and you don’t want to set unrealistic goals as this can leave you feeling frustrated. This is where prioritizing comes into play. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete each task – for example, if you plan to clean your house on Saturday, don’t give yourself one hour to do that task when it will really take you a good chunk of your day.
- DON’T PUT THINGS OFF! It’s easy when you get home from a long day to say “I will just do that tomorrow”, but putting things off just makes you have even more to do another day which can make you feel burned out, overwhelmed, and frustrated. You don’t want to let everything you have to do pile up until the weekend and then you will be just as busy as stressed. This is where prioritizing comes in; if you know you have a long day at work, don’t plan to do too much when you get home. Instead, have 1-2 simple tasks you know you will be able to get done and save the bigger projects for days where you have more time.
- BREAK UP BIGGER TASKS! Sometimes when you have something big that needs to be accomplished it can be very intimidating. One thing I do to combat this is to break up bigger tasks so they are completed over a few days, versus trying to get everything done in one day. Another way to make a big task less stressful is to set aside a whole day for it. If you know you either have only part of the task to do, or that you have nothing else planned that day except to get one thing done, it can bring down your stress levels and make things not seem so daunting.
- HAVE SOME “ME” TIME! Even though you have a million things to get done, don’t forget to take care of yourself and set aside some time to relax. You are working hard to achieve your goals, but you don’t want to get burned out. Even setting aside 15 minutes a day to decompress can totally change your mental state. Whether that time is set aside to catch up on favorite TV show, go to a new yoga class, get a massage, or just sit on your couch and chill – the time you take for self care is just as important as everything else you are doing! Make sure you set aside this time for yourself no matter what, even if you have to write it in your planner!
I hope that these few tips can be helpful in keeping your busy life organized and keep you on track with your goals. Remember, everything comes with a price including whatever goals you have set for yourself. Staying on top of your to do list and prioritizing can make a world of difference in how you feel both mentally and physically. And don’t forget to set aside that time for yourself 🙂
Photography: Don Bersano, Bersano Photography