Summer break is over. With school back in session, it is time to start a new routine. This is true for all students from Kindergarten to College. For those students who also work, the challenge of balancing the demands of their studies and their schedule is even greater. Many working students are also parents of school-aged children. Whichever the case for you, here are some basic tips to help get you back in the swing of things now that classes and homework are now a part of your daily routine:
I'm a paper person. Everything gets written down. If it's not on my agenda, it doesn't get done! Whether you put it down on paper, or you type it into your phone, Outlook calendar, or other scheduling app, make sure you document your to-do list, your work and school schedule, homework assignment due dates & other deadlines, and anything else that needs to get done on the day in question.
Use one method/tool for all schedules
Do not have three calendars! I have before and it does not work! Your personal, work, and school action items & schedules need to be visualized together so that nothing is missed.
Start with the non-negotiables
Your work schedule and class times would fall under this category. Starting here will ensure you don't schedule other tasks that would cut into your work or school hours.
Add the negotiables to the calendar
Doctors appointments, pre-scheduled hair cuts and other appointments that are inconsistent and can be changed should now be added. If any of these appointments will interfere with your classes or work schedule, now is the time to change it.
Consider the household chores
Whether you live alone, with a spouse and/or children, or your parents, you are likely to have household chores. Make a list of these- categorize them under daily/weekly/monthly. Keep your daily list as short as possible- delegate some if you can. Five to seven weekly tasks are reasonable- do one per day. Too many weekly's? See if some of them can be done bi-weekly (washing bedding, cleaning shower curtain, bathing the dog, etc.)
Work in the household chores into the schedule
This may sound silly, but scheduling household chores ensures daily focus and helps to make sure the task gets done. Seeing it on paper (or your e-calendar) will allow you to evaluate whether you really have the time to complete everything you plan to.
Create a routine
Having a routine will help you stay focused and prepared. Be consistent, stick to the plan, and keep it simple.
Don't over-do it
When scheduling your to-do's on your calendar, don't over-do it... choose up to three main priorities per day to keep it manageable. If more than that is necessary, try to delegate some if possible. Husband/wife, kids, parents, siblings? A multiple-person household shouldn't be entirely managed by one person.
Color code for quick distinguishing of task type
School-purple, work-blue, personal-pink... choose whatever colors you'd like. It really does help!
Plan your day the night before
Take a look at the day ahead the night before. If it isn't already planned in advance, make sure you think about your priorities. What is most important to accomplish in the next day? When tomorrow comes, make that the first thing you do.