Since ninth grade, I’ve over-involved myself to the point of exasperation because I just love experiencing a ton of different things. I graduated high school as part of 13 clubs and in my freshman year of college, joined seven different organizations. I quickly realized what clubs and organizations would actually be worth my time and now I’m down to about four.
The leadership positions I’ve held in PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) and AAF-NSAC (American Advertising Federation – National Student Advertising Competition) have taken up most of my time for the past two years and I had to learn how to multi-task quickly, or everything would come crashing down around me. I want to share a few ways that I employ to keep on top of my crap:
1. Make a dang list: I don’t care if it’s on a napkin, in your head or fleshed out in a complex, color-coded spreadsheet; just make one. This is continually my first piece of advice to people who feel stressed or disorganized. Personally, I just shut down if I feel too overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with all my work. Additionally, your to-do list might not be as soul-crushing as you first thought when you plan out the measures you’ll specifically take to complete a task (thank you Lucas – this advice saved my freaking life).
2. Follow up: If you’re in a leadership position, make sure (you put it on your to-do list and) you follow up with the people you’ve delegated to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to half-ass a part of a group project at the last minute because someone dropped the ball. And I’ll be honest, sometimes I was the one who dropped the ball (because it wasn’t on my to do list). As a leader, the end result reflects on you. Even though it wasn’t “technically” your responsibility to call maintenance for more chairs, you should have double-checked that it happened.
3. Plan ahead: I’m not sure if there’s a worse feeling than coming into a class and realizing you completely spaced on that 3 page paper that’s due and there’s no way to make it up. Instead of taking a break by watching Netflix or surfing Facebook, use 15 minutes to map out the due dates and deadlines of projects. If they’re incredibly important, consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to have it done. This advice works in more ways than one, too! I’m currently following a strict diet, so I need to plan out my meals in advance to ensure I stick to it. Because it focuses on protein, carbs and healthy fats, I’m not able to pop into 7-11 for a cheese-stuffed soft pretzel and bottle of water to get me through the day.
4. Take time for yourself: At the end of the day, nothing is more important than you. While it might seem noble (or even impressive) to skip a meal or two because you’re just so busy, realize that’s not healthy and plan ahead to bring food with you if you know you’re going to be on the run that day. In addition, set a time for yourself that you stop responding to emails at night. For me, it’s right after I’ve showered and gotten into bed. At that point in the night, I’m ready to relax and go to sleep. I don’t even look at my phone when it buzzes anymore.
What do you think about this list? How do you keep yourself organized and on-track to complete your goals? Let me know in the comments!
PS – sorry for the double Parks And Rec gifs, but Leslie Knope is legitimately my professional spirit animal. My personal, if you’re wondering, is a mix of Jessica Day and Phil Dunphy with a hint of Disney Princess.