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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?