Many people struggle with juggling everyday life, especially parents. Being a parent requires a solid organizational system to tackle daily responsibilities. With two kids, a full-time job, a full-time Ed.D. program, and a Graduate Assistant position, I often feel like I am juggling a handful of sharp swords while standing on a ball and trying to keep my balance. Sounds like you? Well, I want to share a system that helps with time management and organization, allowing me to keep my sanity and achieve my personal, professional, and academic goals.
I use these three survival tools for thriving during busy, chaotic times:
- Planning: Nothing helps me more than creating a schedule. The night before, I write down my schedule for the following day. My activities may include exercising, helping kids get ready for online school, work activities, family time, and others. Creating a schedule allows me to organize all the to-do tasks and avoid wasting time on unnecessary activities such as checking Instagram and Facebook. I also dedicate specific hours to specific tasks and prioritize my activities to focus on those that are most important. For example, after I put my kids to sleep, I devote two hours to completing my assignments and reading materials for class.
- Self-Care: How many times can I say this? Self-Care, Self-Care, and Self-Care. Without taking care of myself, I would not have the energy and strength to juggle all the sharp swords in my life. For that reason, I always include some time for myself in my schedule. On a daily basis, I devote 15-30 minutes to yoga, which helps me stay physically and emotionally healthy and reduces stress and anxiety, especially during busy and challenging times. Now, I accept that life is not perfect, so some days I am unable to practice yoga and this is ok. The next day, I make sure to get back to my routine and continue caring for myself. So, my advice is to start an exercise routine, meditate, read a book, or sleep. Just practice self-care.
- Self-Discipline: Easier said than done, but without self-discipline I would not be able to successfully manage a heavy workload and have enough time to spend with my family. By building healthy habits, having clear expectations for myself and my loved ones, and holding myself accountable; I am able to juggle all of my sharp swords, even when I have no motivation to write another paper or get out of bed. Creating positive habits strengthens my character and increases my confidence that I can get it done!
Not everyone’s life is the same. Juggling these sharp swords is complicated and you must constantly adjust and readjust priorities to keep the balance. Practicing the three strategies of planning, self-care, and self-discipline will help you with your journey of earning your degree, keeping your job, being a great parent, and caring for yourself.
Need more help with staying on track during challenging times?
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Written by Graduate Assistant and Ed.D. Student, Denise Holguin