a bit on: time management

I’ve been saying that I’d do this post for a long time. Woohoo, I’m finally getting around to it!

I’ve been asked many times about how I juggle being a full-time student (taking 18 credits), having two jobs, participating in two school clubs, and being a blogger/influencer without physically harming anyone or looking deranged. It’s honestly a very delicate process. First, I’ll outline what my typical Wednesday looks like just for reference: 

9:00-9:50- Class #1
10:00-10:50- Class #2
11:00-11:50- Class #3
12:30-3:00- Work at the Career Center
3:30-4:30- Shoot content for Instagram or physical therapy (depending on the day)
5:00-bedtime- Any of the following: Doctor appointments, meetings for school clubs/organizations, homework, studying, working out, writing blog posts, working at my other job, answering emails, spending time with friends/family/Kristian, etc. etc. 

As you can see, I typically have some time after 5:00 everyday to get stuff done. However, how I spend that time is crucial to my success and sanity. I’m not perfect but I’ve spent many years being busy as heck, so I’ve developed some positive habits and tricks. Here are my tips for managing your time without going insane: 

Don’t wait until the last minute for anything ever.
It’s taken me a while to get used to this, but positive habits can be formed. I am no longer a procrastinator because I have trained myself not to be. Instead of deciding to create new content for my Instagram when I run out, I create new content when I have 3 or 4 photos left to post. Instead of doing my homework assignment or studying the night before the test, I do it slowly starting a week or so before it’s due. If you have time, get ahead. Classes have syllabuses and oftentimes you can work forward. I find that I’m much more level-headed and calm when I have time. Waiting until the last minute is where stress really kicks in!

Self care, self care, self care.
Whatever it is that helps you relax, make time for it once in a while. For me, it’s watching Friends or SVU, doing a dance workout, doing a face mask, making mood board, sewing, whatever. Anything that helps you forget about your stress is something that’s worth doing. While you’re doing this activity, make sure to put your phone away and just focus on the activity. No distractions or stress, just chill. 

Say no.
I get asked to do a lot of things for a lot of people. While I’d like to help everyone and do everything, spreading yourself too thin is where you crack. I have no problem saying no if I think it will cause me too much stress. This applies to favors, extra hours at work, hanging out, clubs/organizations, brand collaborations, anything. Be polite, but say no if you have to and don’t feel bad about it.

Believe it or not, you can do stuff in the morning.
I know it sucks, but sometimes you can be really productive if you get up early. I have class at 9:00 am and need to leave the house by 8:20 am, but sometimes I get up early to accomplish a few tasks before I leave. For me, I either shoot some content in my room when the sun is rising (flat lays) or I do a quick 10-minute YouTube workout. It starts the day on a productive note and I always feel good when I do that! 

If you’re feeling productive, get ahead.
Sometimes I have moments where I’m on fiiiiire and am working at rapid speed! During these times, don’t stop at the bare minimum. Get ahead! When I’m feeling particularly motivated, I’ll just get a bunch of work done for the week so that I don’t have to make myself do it when I’m feeling lazy or unmotivated. 

Use a planner.
People that can function without a planner or calendar of some sort honestly confuse me. I go so far as to color code mine but that may be a little extra (if you want to know my codes, I’ve listed them below). If you write things down and look at your calendar/planner frequently, you’re much less likely to forget things and you can plan ahead of time if you know you’re going to be too busy to accomplish tasks on a particular day! 

My planner color codes: 

  • Blue: Important events such as due dates, tests, work hours, etc.

  • Red: To-do’s such as assignments, photos to take, studying, etc. 

  • Black: check marks when I’ve finished a task

  • Green: Fun events such as birthdays, days off of school, hanging with friends, vacations, etc. 

Develop a plan and write it down.
A lot of times I strategize in my head how I’m going to manage my time. I prioritize what’s most important and needs to be done first, then I’ll think of some arbitrary tasks that I could do if I have extra time. I then write it all down in order and something about this just helps me visualize how my day will go. If I have a plan, it takes away a lot of confusion and guesswork throughout the day. 

Those are my best tips! If you’ve read this and you’re thinking, “Wow, Maria is kind of psycho about her life…” Well, join the club. A lot of people already know this. I am really particular but this is just what works for me and is the only way that I can juggle all of these responsibilities! If you try any of these tactics, I’d love to hear what you think!

Happy trails to you, 
Maria Helen

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