Have you ever felt suffocated by the sheer weight of your busy schedule? Between going to work, running errands, staying healthy, maintaining a social life, and getting enough sleep…there’s always a million things you need to do. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you also have to go to school, finish homework, or work on your side hustle.
A couple of months ago I was in the thick of one of the busiest months of my life. I needed to finish the first draft of my book, working full-time, and had plans with friends and family nearly every single weekend. If I told you I managed everything with ease and little stress, I’d be lying. While it wasn’t completely smooth sailing, I did learn how to overall handle an insane schedule as best as possible.
If you’re struggling to conquer your busy schedule, here are my tips on how to improve your time management and keep your sanity at the same time:
List Everything You Need to Do
Seriously, write down absolutely everything you have in your busy schedule. This so you feel even MORE overwhelmed from seeing everything you need to do on paper, but a first step towards an improved strategy moving forward. As a visual person myself, writing everything down in one big master list helps me get a realistic view of everything I have on my plate. This also helps as a reference when creating schedules and setting goals for the future to accomplish the tasks on your list.
Note Your Due Dates
Do some of your to-dos have specific deadlines? For example, if you’re in school you obviously have dates you need to fully complete your assignments by without much wiggle room. Write down these important dates next to the related tasks on your master list.
Mark Your Priorities
What are the most important items on this list? What needs the most attention or has the closest deadline? Try to limit these most pressing tasks to no more than three to five items on your list if possible. Highlight these priorities on your full list.
Push Back Unimportant Tasks
Are there any to-dos on your list that don’t actually need to be included in your schedule right now? If so, cross them off or simply move them to another list marked as “Later.” If you already have at least three priorities that you need to focus on, cluttering your day with activities that aren’t completely necessary will only make you feel more scattered and overwhelmed. Once you feel more in control and further down completing your priorities, you can start revisiting your “Later” list.
Create Your Schedule
Now that you know your priorities and important due dates, start creating your master plan to tackle this list. Everyone is different when it comes to planning and keeping track of a busy schedule, but honestly, my favorite way to do this is with the classic daily paper planner and calendar. I remember things better when I physically write things down and have a better idea of what’s coming up on my to-do list for the day when I check my planner every morning.
If you’re not a fan of paper planners, here are a few online sites and apps that I recommend trying when planning your busy schedule:
Finding the scheduling and time management tool that works best for you sometimes takes a trial and error process, but it can truly change your life once you’ve found the one for you!
Make Time for Self-Care
Keep in mind to make time for breaks and relaxation when scheduling out your days. If you don’t make time for self-care, you’ll increase your chances of feeling overwhelmed and stressed. If you’re exhausted and not allowing yourself rest, you’ll be too tired to tackle your busy schedule and fall behind. When your body and mind are feeling fatigued and you have some wiggle room to take a break, TAKE A BREAK! You’re human, not a robot. Listen to your body. It’ll tell you when it’s time to pump the breaks a little or that you’re getting close to hitting your limit. Of course, have some boundaries when you’re taking your breaks (don’t let one show on Netflix turn into an unnecessary all-night marathon). But taking time for yourself here and there will only help you stay more motivated and productive in the long-run.
What are you trying to balance in your busy schedule right now? Let me know in the comments!