Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How I maintain the balancing act I call life

I know I am not the only person who has a crazy schedule full of classes, internships tasks and multiple leadership rolls. Therefore, I hope I am not the only one who thinks life can sometimes feel like a circus, and you are the main act expected to walk a tight rope, while juggling flaming balls and hula-hooping all at once.

Encyclopedia Britannica
<< This guy got pretty close to how I felt yesterday, juggling a million things while trying to keep balance in my life.

In a recent interview I had, I was asked if multitasking was a skill I possessed. I did not want to come off as pretentious, but of course I can multitask—I am a college student! Good luck finding someone at UGA who can't maintain grades, hold a job, participate in extra committees and still keep up with their social life...okay, so you may find a few. But, for the most part, we know that time management is a necessity for success in college.

I definitely recognize, however, that it does not come easily or perfectly-ever. The best methods I have found for managing a busy schedule efficiently include a good calendar (or two), a smart phone and premade meals.

1. The calendar. 
By far the most essential tool for keeping track of daily tasks, meetings and deadlines is a good calendar. It allows you to breakdown and organize your day in order to fit in everything... kinda like the game tetris! A contacts section means you are always able to jot down important names and numbers for future access. My favorite part about my calendar, however, is the notes section. I cannot tell you how many running to-do lists I keep on a daily basis. By being able to write everything down, it relieves my brain from having to keep up with it all!

On a side note, I also keep a separate calendar for my position as Philanthropy Chair of ZTA. Because I plan and execute 5-10 events each semester, my calendar has been a great way to track what needs to be done each step of the way. I can keep the necessary contacts and to-do lists together and have it all in a neat package in order to pass-on to the new Chair next year!

2. The smart phone
Having temporarily been without my Droid a few weeks ago, I have an entirely new appreciation for all of the capabilities my phone offers me on a daily basis. Being able to access my email saves me an incredible amount of time. I can read and respond while riding the bus, waiting line at Jittery Joes to get coffee or even while walking from class to class. Looking back on today alone, I have received 15 emails that I replied to with my phone. Instant communication makes life run smoother and more quickly—a key aspect of time management.

3. The TV dinner... minus the TV 

Okay, so while the picture above is more nauseating than it is appetizing, but it gets to the point. I love cooking, but some days there is just not time, and I am not willing to sacrifice a hot meal in order to save time, and eating out gets real expensive, real quick. Therefore, I have discovered Trader Joes' prepackaged meals! They are so easy to fix and I don't have to miss out on a yummy dinner. 
What is important to note here, is that by being satisfied in the areas of your life you may otherwise have to sacrifice allows you to stay more motivated and work more efficiently. Thus, you are able to devote more time to each element that is demanding your attention.

30 minutes on a treadmill, a tasty meal and taking time to maintain my personal sites and blog are all ways I refocus myself and boost my energy in order to balance my life better.
Taking care of business as it comes, and quickly responding to others, as well as physically organizing the hours in my day all allow me to meet deadlines, and still stay sane... most of the time ;-)

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