Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Quit Scrambling: how to feel on top of everything

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I wanted to make a difference with the school year and feel refreshed with a new year. I really think I've been doing a better job at those when I'm in a position of being stressed, but it made me realize that there are little things that I can do so I don't have to get to the point of being stressed. 

The thing is that you can do all your work and get it done, but to me, the way in which you get it done can be the game changer. Last year, I was getting things done at odd hours, not having a routine, and constantly feeling like I was scrambling. When I was scrambling, I was anxious and felt like I couldn't ever get anything done. This year, I'm working on trying to stay on top of things as they come so I never feel like that.

Make up your bed every morning. This is one that my mom always taught me and it never made sense, but I think especially in college, making up your bed changes it all. You feel better by not having your sheets all crumpled, losing things in your sheets as you throw things on the bed, and by having a comforter to sit on top of so you don't feel tempted to take a nap. If it seems to intimidating of a thought- I promise it doesn't have to be. Pull your comforter up at least.

Shower regularly. Wake up early enough to get ready for the day. I like to shower in the morning and I used to skip out on morning showers last year, only to come back and shower and then sit in my room when I could've just felt prepared for the whole day by waking up early enough to get ready. I'm not a fan of waking up early, but I feel a million times better the rest of the day if I have time to shower, do my hair and makeup, and make sure I'm ready for the day. This also includes little routines. I like to get ready and wake up by having coffee in my room, turning on all my lights, and playing music. Little routines like this get me amped for the day so I don't feel rushed and stressed.

If you have something little to do, go ahead and do it. I used to be the worst at this. If I had some little email to reply to, something to register for, or something to buy, I would just wait until I was "in the mood" to do it, meaning when I was in the library or something. Which is ridiculous. If it takes as long to put it on your to do list as it would to just do it, then JUST DO IT (This post is not sponsored by Nike). It'll make you feel accomplished as the day goes on to know you have nothing on your conscience. 

Lay out your clothes the night before. I struggle with diversifying my wardrobe until I look in my closet and think "Hmm, I should've worn this more." Think through what you're going to wear the night before so you don't just end up grabbing a tshirt and shorts.

Clean each night before you go to bed and follow little routines. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. This is my favorite. I love to clean and have my whole room clean before I go to bed because I wake up in a better mood. When I was little, I physically could not go to sleep if my room was a mess. I'm trying to do this more now because I spend so much time in my dorm room. Pick up clothes on the bed, trash on the table, and straighten up your stuff. I also try to follow a very similar routine every night by filling up my water bottle before I go to sleep, setting my coffee pitcher for the next morning, and packing all of my bags each night. It makes everything easier in the morning and makes it more pleasant to wake up.

Use your planner efficiently, but don't overdo your crazy organization system. I know, I know, I love the color coding aspect too, but sometimes if you don't have your particular color of pen or you don't have your ruler to make everything straight, it doesn't matter. As soon as you hear an event, write it down. Even if you're not going to attend. Don't just write down what it is, be sure you get the time and location so you're not scrambling the day of the event. Some professors will only say a due date once, or scheduling a lunch with a friend may be forgotten. I don't care how minuscule it seems, write it all down so you can visualize your day in advance. And keep your planner with you at all times! Don't just write things on random scraps of paper.

Keep chargers with you at all times. I don't leave my room in the morning without my phone charger, even if it's at 100%. Because life happens and maybe I won't be back in my room for the rest of the day-- don't make going back to get your charger the reason you sit in bed all day when you could've been productive.

Use pockets of time efficiently. I tend to sit on my phone on social media, but I'm trying to knock out little things when I have time. Don't spend your other free time socializing. Maybe that's something of my own that I do enjoy being alone, but I know it's another thing that some people don't get work done when they're with other people. At night, I am by myself to get things done early.

Go ahead and read assignments and reach out for help. You don't have to do the entire in depth reading at once, but go ahead and make sure that you have the textbook, that you understand the gist of the material, and if there's a problem, go ahead and reach out. You don't want to be waiting until the last minute to realize that you don't actually know the page numbers for your reading due in 8 hours. 

Organize your email. This has always been a favorite of mine, but UTILIZE labels in a Gmail inbox. You can make them colored, you can nest them under certain tabs, you can do anything. As soon as I read and do whatever I need to an email, I label it and archive it if I don't need to see it everyday. If I know it's an email I need to thoroughly read (such as my NY Times emails that I don't want to just delete and need more time to read), then I don't open it until I can read it. If an email has a date in it, write it down and delete it if you don't need it. Keeping tons of emails out of your inbox is key to being able to not miss anything.

Take time to go ahead and reach out to people in your life. Nothing hurts. If you miss a friend, text them to see if you can get lunch (...and then write it down!). If you know someone's struggling or has a problem in their life, just let them know you're thinking of them. I think the most refreshing part of sophomore year is that you don't have to worry about sticking to just friend groups as much, you can talk to anyone and hang out with different people. 

Think about specific things you'll do and accomplish each day so you don't have a blanket to-do list. If you have one to-do list with 50 things on it, you're not going to be able to do any of them. Think about your main things for that day.

Plan out your meals so you're not scrambling. Our dining hall is on the opposite side of all the classes, but there are lots of fast food places near our classes. I try to make sure and plan when I'm going to dhall so I don't spend as much money at the fast food places. Also, planning out when you'll eat is a good way to make sure you're not overeating or eating too little and it affecting what you're doing.

Don't go to your room between breaks. I already sort of touched on this, but going back to my room during small breaks is a definite way for me to goof off and not accomplish anything. Go somewhere so you'll get stuff done.

Be alert in class and ask questions. I'm totally guilty of just thinking "I'll read it or figure it out later". Which is so bad because then I lose all opportunities to ask questions and clarify my thoughts. Be alert and pay attention to what's going on.

Keep track of your money and spending. I'll spend a few dollars here and a few there and it ends up really adding up. Keep track of what you know you're going to have to spend money on and what's more flexible. We have dining dollars, which come on our card for us to use at various places across campus, and it's even easier to just mindlessly spend them wherever and whenever. Keep track of what you're doing.

I think my new general rule is to stay in one weekend night and be by yourself. When everyone's out socializing, I love being able to be by myself and go to bed early and know that I can sleep in. It allows for me to collect myself and feel put together the next day when I can relax all day.

Set goals for each week. Don't mindlessly set goals for the year that you can't follow through with because they're not detailed: set a few goals for each week, write them in your planner, and try to accomplish them. Achieving small goals will make you feel like you can do bigger ones.

These are the things that have made me just feel so much more positive and happy with this year and I hope they can help for others too! If you have any other thoughts on it, let me know, I'd be happy to hear!


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1 comment:

  1. Great tips! As quarter and midterm exams start, it's easy to feel like you're quickly losing control of your school life - having a routine and working to stay productive are really helpful around this time!
    xx, Mikkaela
    The Southwestern Prepster


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