Keeping it all organized

A lot of people ask me how I manage to keep my busy schedule so organized.   To be honest with you, I’m not really sure.  I’ve just been used to doing fifty different things at once- I don’t know any different!

Admittedly, it is difficult to be a student and work full time.  I don’t really feel like it’s much different being a faculty member and working full time either.  The only difference is that maybe in the future when I teach a class again, I won’t have the same amount of class prep that I’m doing now.  After 16 years of juggling student responsibilities with life responsibilities, I’ve come up with a pretty good method for keeping it “together”, which I will share with you now.

  1. Accepting the fact that I won’t have a large group of friends or a kickin’ social life.  This was pretty easy for me, but I have to admit that I do sometimes feel a little jealous of people who drop everything at a moment’s notice because a group of people are going out to a movie or dinner.
  2. Be willing to turn down fun time with the few friends I have (who understand my crazy life) when there’s stuff to do for class.  This is the hardest thing to do.  I’m pretty good at saying, sorry….again.
  3. Tell as many people as possible about my life.  If everyone knows what I need to do, then I’m more likely to do it.  This also helps when I have to say no to an invitation for fun.
  4. Put monthly calendars up on the wall above my desk.  I have the entire semester mapped out at home, so I can see at a glance what’s due and when.
  5. Make the work area pleasant.  I love my office/library room at home.  I have books all around me and a nice set up.  On the wall above my semester calendars, you’ll find a 17th century painting of “Queen Bess”, a family heirloom from my grandparents.
  6. Keep up with it.  I am a big fan of checklists.  I have them everywhere: at work, in the car, in my purse, on my desk at home.  Here’s what I usually use, which got me through graduate school.  I figure if it worked then, it should work for me now as a faculty member too!

As you can see, I have something I do EVERY day.  That’s the key to my success in doing it all and keeping sane.  I do something every day so I don’t have “marathon” evenings or stay up late.

What I put on my check-off lists are the non-negotiable things which cannot be moved around.  I work my way backwards, usually trying to do things two days before they need to be done.  I’m taking Spring Break off work, so that will be a good time to get ahead.

It helps to have a snazzy check off sheet too.  It’s all in the presentation, right?

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