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How to Balance commitments and still have time for fun
I learned a lot during the last school year about balancing commitments and following through with promises. Before my commitments as a full-time student began last year, I held two part-time jobs, volunteered at a University club, and also held a VP External position with a volunteer led mentorship program. Something I had to learn very quickly once school started was to say no to taking on more commitments or projects within those commitments. Another thing I had to remember constantly is that aside from school. within my volunteer and job commitments I worked in teams; I did not have to do everything by myself, but at the same time I could not just leave things for my team to do, I had to be an equal member.
There was also one major promise I made to myself before the school year began and that was that no matter what happened or what I had due, I would get 6-8 hours of sleep every single night. The reason that I did this was because the only way I could enjoy my crazy year that was about to begin was if I wasn’t resenting the sleep I was losing to fulfill my commitments. Whilst there were many high stress times throughout the year making sure I got enough sleep every night did save me from becoming bitter and irritable and allowed me to enjoy everything that I was doing…most of the time.
Over the course of the year there were 2 major skills that I learned and mastered to successfully complete the year.
My Planner was my life! So were To-do lists, I lived for those, and still do. In total, I had 2.5 planners (there is no reason to judge me, I love planning and planners.)
The reason I had 2.5 planners was my .5 planner was an hourly weekly printable that I would only use when I could not wrap my mind around what I was doing on a said week such as where I needed to be and when I had open time slots. My other two planners were split into a school planner (just dedicated to all of the school, and school things), and one that was the rest of my life.
Because school was my full-time responsibility, having a planner solely dedicated to it allowed me to split up the work that I need to do for courses and things I should get done on certain days with out having my other commitments mixed in. It allowed me to not get overwhelmed by everything I had to do on certain days.
Having a high level of organization, and taking everything out of my head and putting it in my planner/daily to-do list let me free my mind up to successfully complete my tasks.
The second skill that I developed was,
Learning to communicate effectively and consistently with my managers and team members was a literal life saver. Being able to communicate tasks that were completed, things in progress, and a timeline of when certain things will be done, led to less follow-up from managers. Effectively communicating with team members and just asking for help allowed tasks to be completed in an orderly and effective manner!
It took about six months for me to fully develop my communication skills so that they were effective.It is not a skill that comes easily and it needs to be practiced consistently.
It is also extremely important to carve out time for friends and family. Just because I decided to take on 10 bajillion things does not mean I cut out my friends and family. I still constantly made time for them, be it every 2 weeks on a Friday me going out, or every Saturday night sitting and eating dinner with my parents to talk about the past week. There was never a reason for me to become aloof in my relationships. It all comes down to prioritization and seeing the time that I had available to schedule things in (hence planner .5). No one in the world can be too busy to spend time with the people that they care about and bring them happiness.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep daily, making time for friends and family, and getting my organization skills and communication skills on point allowed me to have an extremely successful year. I learned a lot last year through my various positions and would not have given any of it up for anything. It all comes down to finding a balance that works for yourself. Some people can handle more and others less. Just remember to not lose what’s important to yourself and not define your own success based on other people’s definitions. Always remember that your balance is not someone else’s and you must only do the things that make yourself happy at the end of the day!
Harmeet is a 4th year business student who really loves to plan and organize, and hence has multiple planners and stickers.