I’m just one person! Juggling work, school, chores, cooking, and more.
By Bhargavi Venkataraman
Whether you are a high schooler, a university student, or a working professional, these days, it seems that there is always something to do. From juggling work to making time for family and friends to practicing self-care, it seems like our to-do lists are never-ending, and it can be extremely overwhelming to find a way to balance everything. Thankfully, with the help of social media and technology, there are many ways to make our lives a little easier. It just requires planning and organization so that with enough practice, juggling these tasks will be a built-in skill.
- Identify your priorities.
You are just one person, and no matter how much you may want to, it is impossible to do every single thing you want in a day. You must portion the 24 hours in a day between all the activities you have to complete to be physically healthy and the ones you want to do for good mental health. Start by making a list of these activities and write down how long they take. Then, see if you have left enough time for essentials like sleeping for 7 to 8 hours, eating a proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner, getting some exercise, etc. Keep in mind that you don’t have to commit to everything and that it is okay to let go of commitments if you feel like you have taken on too much.
- Organize activities.
Now that you know what you must do, remember that organization is the key to not getting too overwhelmed about completing these activities. Our mind is often scattered with the millions of things we have to think about every day. Utilizing technology to lay out everything we want to accomplish visually, instead of just trying to remember them, can help us be more productive. There are numerous platforms we can use to do this. I will list some of the ones which I use.
First, Notion is an all-encompassing organizational platform that allows you to take notes, create a calendar, make to-do lists and even collaborate with others. I use it for extracurricular notes, listing important recipes I want to revisit, tracking my budget and noting down essential assignments/exams in university. There are a lot of productivity apps that can do these things individually, but I love the convenience of having all this info in one place. Second, Microsoft To Do allows you to organize your activities into named lists and refreshes your daily to-do list automatically. I love using this to keep track of everyday, short-term tasks I need to accomplish and generally start my workday by sorting through my lists to add specific tasks to my daily to-do list. Third, Google Calendar is an online-based scheduling service that gives you regular reminders of events and activities that you have inputted. I like using this for scheduling my class times, extracurricular meetings, and calls with friends. I like setting multiple reminders (one 20 minutes before, another 5 minutes before, and finally 1 minute before) to have enough time to prepare and log on (if online) or leave home.
Together, these services allow me to be much more productive daily and maximize what I can do in 24 hours. Hopefully, either through these same services or other similar ones, you will also be able to make the most of your day.
- Plan in advance.
Once you know what activities you have to do, the next step is to make it easier to do them. When we are swamped and feeling overwhelmed, any obstacle in completing the task seems daunting and encourages us to give up more quickly. So, to better ensure our productivity, we can use some of our free time to prepare things so that when we are busy, we have fewer steps to go through to complete tasks. For example, many people eat unhealthy takeout meals regularly because they are too tired or lazy to cook after a long workday. To make cooking easier during this time, you can meal prep by cutting vegetables, pre-making salad dressings, or even boiling pasta whenever you have a bit of free time. There are also numerous creators on social media that help with meal prepping to make a healthy, homemade meal in a matter of minutes. This kind of organization can be implemented for other aspects of your life as well. You can try not to look at your phone before you sleep to be maximally rested and effective in the day. You can try setting out your clothes the night before to not be stressed and rushed in the morning. You can wash dirty dishes right after eating, so they don’t pile up. Over time, you will feel a lot calmer, and your productivity will be at an all-time high!
- Find ways to cope with stress.
Lastly, even if you implement every one of the suggestions I have outlined in this article, it is crucial to remember that it is entirely normal to feel stressed from time to time. You just have to know how to manage this stress in a way that works for you so that your mental and physical health don’t deteriorate. I recommend finding hobbies you can turn to when you want to take your mind off of work, spend time with family and friends, and take part in some kind of reflection (e.g. journaling, meditation) to remember what is really important. When life gets busy, it might be hard to keep up but believe in yourself, try out these strategies, and witness the change in your life!