Managing a Busy Schedule (from the Perspective of a College Athlete)

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Entering college, your schedule will be hectic; class, studying, hanging out with friends, greek life, eating, sleeping. That alone can be overwhelming, but when you add in an outrageous practice and game schedule, it can be easy to get in over your head.

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As an ex college cheerleader for a program holding multiple national championship titles, I know all about a busy schedule. Good news for you (after being a college athlete for so many years) I also know all about how to manage such a busy schedule!

1) Take full advantage of any free time that you get- Even if it’s five minutes. Cherish it. Do something productive, or if you’ve had enough productivity, take the time to do something you normally are too busy for, but enjoy.

2) Naps- Don’t you wish you could take back all of the childhood naps you used to refuse? I do. Naps are essential if you are too busy to get a great night’s sleep. Plus if you’re feeling stressed, a nap is a great way to just clear your mind and hit the refresh button on your day. And if you don’t think you have time for naps, it’s all about prioritizing. I love spending time with my friends, but when learning to manage my schedule, I quickly figured out that it was better to go back to my room during my lunch break instead of socializing.

3) Don’t let being tired take you away from a great opportunity- I would have missed out on so many great times if I gave into exhaustion and went home  after practice, instead of going out with friends.

4) Invest in a planner- I cannot stress enough how important a planner is! Being so busy, it’s easy to forget things. I have my planner with me at all times, so if a professor last minute changes the date of a test, you have your planner out and ready to write it down. Even if you have a set practice schedule, write it in for every week, that way you can clearly see when you’re busy and when you’re not. If you’re in the market for a planner you can check out this post on my favorite recommendations!

 5) Do the little things- With so much going on, you may start to question your sanity. There will be those days when you just got out of a mentally and physically exhausting four hour practice and you know that you still have to pull an all nighter to study for the three midterms you have the next day. Pretty overwhelming right? To keep yourself from getting overly stressed, stop to do something for yourself first. Whenever I was in those situations, I would make sure to stop and get my favorite coffee, or I would allow myself one episode of my favorite show on Netflix before diving in to homework and studying. Putting yourself in a better mood before hand will make it so much easier to be more productive.

College can be tough, especially if you are an athlete, but the memories you make along the way make it all worth it. The best part about managing your schedule if you’re an athlete is that you spend so much time at practice, your teammates become your best friends. After a while, going to practice basically becomes multi tasking because you’re getting a workout and spending time with your best friends at the same time.

Busy Semester? Not A Problem!

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Hello again, my fellow bloggers!

It has been a while since I was able to blog with all of you – five months to be exact! I am sorry that it has been so long; I have been extremely busy! And, when I say busy, boy do I mean it! After a two week hiatus from everything (classes, work, tests, deadlines, etc.), I finally decided on the perfect topic to get me back into the blogging world: dealing with the stress of being busy. How ironic!

Like I said before, I really and truly learned what busy was during my last semester. I not only took on five classes, but I also participated in an internship program for credit. The classes were difficult and kept me on my feet throughout the semester. My internship, although extremely rewarding and fun, took up a lot of my time during the school week. Balancing both, in addition to my social life, proved extremely difficult, but I did it and I conquered the semester. Each and every one of you will have a semester like this, one that works you to your core, but if you follow my few tips below, then you will be better able to handle the hundreds of tasks that you will need to do throughout the semester!

1) Use A Planner. I mentioned this multiple times in my summer series, but I cannot tell you how helpful it was for me. It helped me to keep each day organized and to remember the deadlines of each activity. Make sure to write down every event, assignment, test, and any other deadline as soon as you get them so that you do not make the mistake of forgetting them later on!

2) Make A Schedule To Call Your Family And Friends. When you are extremely busy, it can be very easy to forget to call home or your friends. By making a schedule, you can create a block of time out of your week to talk to everyone. Additionally, calling your loved ones will act as a de-stressor in your life.

3) Make Meals Ahead Of Time. When you spend all of your time studying and working, it can be hard to find times to make your meals and eat. Last semester I discovered that by making my meals earlier in the week, such as a whole box of pasta on Sunday, I was more likely to eat throughout the week when my meal was already prepared. Even preparing your lunch in the morning can greatly help and save you time!

4) Avoid Extra Extra-Curricular Activities. Do not get me wrong, it is VERY important to participate in extra-curricular activities throughout your years spent at a university. But, finding the right amount may take some time. When you are taking part in a busy semester, do not engage in more extra-curricular activities than your stress level can handle. For example, I had to take a semester-long break from my student ambassador organization on campus in order to maintain a good GPA with my internship program. It is OK to limit your activities down to a manageable level; it will make your life extremely less stressful.

5) Make To-Do Lists. I have always loved to-do lists to keep myself organized, but I really love them when I am extremely busy. Make daily to-do lists to better manage your life during your semester. Don’t forget to check off the activities that you accomplish.

6) Make Time For You. This is my most important tip! Make sure that you make time for yourself each week. You need time to relax so find an activity that can do that for you!

7) Cut Out Extra Stressors. This tip goes hand-in-hand with number four. Cut out anything in your life that can add extra stress. This can be things such as extra jobs, unnecessary classes, or clubs. There is no need for things that can cause unnecessary stress – especially during a busy semester!

8) Schedule Your Study Time. I learned to do this tip towards the end of my semester. Use your planner to schedule in study times for your classes. Make weekly slots for each class so that you are better able to manage your time. Have a test next week? No problem. Because of your weekly study slots, you are more prepared than ever!

9) Focus On One Activity At A Time. Whether you need to study, work, sleep, etc., you can only do one thing at a time. My advice? Put away anything that is not involved with the activity you are participating in. For example, if you are studying for a test, put away your phone and your worries about work. It will help you to remain focused on the task at hand.

10) Get Your Beauty Sleep. Sleep is the most crucial factor in doing well in anything! Make sure to go to bed at a decent time so that you can rest your brain and de-stress your body!

I hope that you are now better able to handle any busy semester that is thrown at you with my ten tips above!

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