6 dos and don’ts for balancing a busy schedule

Here's a few tips on how to not overwork yourself and strike a solid mix of fun, learning and work.

Amber Shiflett |
Categories: Work Life Balance

If there's anyone who can understand the difficulty of finding a balance between work, school and that thing called life, it's me. As someone who had to play the balancing act between three jobs and a more than full-time school schedule, I struggled to have any time for life. As the old saying goes, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," in this case it made Amber a very crazy, stressed, exhausted college student.

So, I totally understand the difficulty that comes with trying to make ends meet while getting your education on and that's why I'm here to offer up a few tips on how to not overwork yourself and strike a solid mix of fun, learning and work. For those of you who aren’t in school, these tips can still be very helpful because let's face it, working long hours or multiple jobs and trying to balance a home life can be just as hard.

Don't over commit yourself:

Speaking as someone who has stretched herself too thin a few times in life, I can assure you it isn’t a good feeling; it's actually pretty overwhelming and certainly exhausting. When it comes to managing the balancing act this is a key component. Don't be afraid to tell your friends no and stay in for an evening with the family, catch up on your studies or just get a little rest and relaxation.

Do make a schedule and stick to it:

Keeping a planner, agenda or utilizing your phone's calendars and apps are great ways to keep track of your day and ensure you don't over book yourself. For me, committing my plans and daily goals in ink helps me cut down procrastination and stick to things better. And of course, I cannot forget to mention the gratifying feeling that comes along with accomplishing things and marking them off the list. Another helpful time management tip is to block out a small chunk of your day as a buffer zone in case something runs longer than planned or if you just need a small dose of me time.

Don't let your social life take center stage:

When you're busy it can be tempting to take a break and hang out with friends, family or watch some TV, but you’ve got to fight the urge and take care of business first. You don't want to be that person who shows up to work late because you "lost track of time" or just couldn’t get away from your favorite TV series. You also don't want to be that person who comes to class unprepared. Misplaced priorities like these can have bad results like the loss of a job or a failing grade and nobody wants that.

Do prioritize:

It's important to realize where your priorities are when you have a full schedule so that you can properly plan your time. When trying to figure out your priorities you have to look at the big picture and ask yourself what's more important in the long run. Time with your friends may seem more important now but your friends will understand and will be there once you finish with work or school. In the long run, your job will put you in the position to support your family and having an education will help you to make a better future.

Don't push yourself too hard:

Really, don't do it. I have been that person who often pushed myself to the limits and although it is good to do every once in a while, it isn't something you want to do all of the time. You'll be exhausted and grumpy and I'm sure nobody wants that.

Do make time for what matters most:

Accomplishment is such a good feeling and when you're busy the success seems even more gratifying. Don't be afraid to treat yourself every once in a while because you deserve it. Having a full schedule can take a lot out of a person but when you take a few minutes of your day and have some time to yourself it'll totally revitalize you. Once you finish with working and schooling be sure to spend some quality time with the people you love because life doesn’t stop just because you're a busy bee.

I assure you, if you follow these do’s and don'ts you'll forget just how busy you are and start living a more enjoyable and gratifying life.