Amidst running around like a loon, I was struck by inspiration hence why I am writing this post.
What do you get when you tell a child that she can do whatever she puts her mind to? Me. When I was growing up, whenever I would complain that I couldn’t do something, my mother used to say ‘Can’t or won’t?’ and I have carried this with me through to my adult life. I have learned, as a result, that I can do most things.
I have stopped saying ‘no’ to things simply because I fear I might not be able to manage them along with everything else I am already committed to, and have simply been doing everything at once.
I had my first job when I was 14 in a health food store. At the time I was going to school, working and dancing at a local dance school. None were compromised because of another. I continued to work throughout education and for half of my time at university I have had two part time jobs on the go as well as my studies. When I was doing my A levels at sixth form, my friend told me that there was no way I’d be able to do both my job and get good grades and used to really worry me by saying how she would never dream of getting a job, she was constantly revising and I thought about quitting for my January exam resits…but I didn’t, I got three A’s and that was actually better than how she did so it just goes to show that anyone can take on more and that it doesn’t have to compromise your overall success. I have even found that I tend to do better when I have more on because it teaches me to value my time better and to make better use of it.
Without further ado, here are the tips I would give to anyone trying to do everything at once!
Keep a planner
I write my work’s shifts down in my filofax, along with the seminars and lectures I am to attend. I then pen in every deadline I have for seminar presentations I have to do and essays I have to hand in and exams I have to revise for. I then pencil in the required reading, preparation, essay writing and revision I should be achieving each week by considering the time I have and how long I think the tasks will take me and when they need to be done by. It helps me get a mental picture of my upcoming weeks so I can efficiently prioritise.
Timed to-do lists
Lists are great but you can level up your organisation and effectiveness if you order your tasks by urgency. On a typical week I have uni three days a week, work four days a week and one day off where I have neither. I only really have free time in the late evenings after dinner and before bedtime so I have to be proactive and stick to lists that usually command things like: food shop, laundry, ironing, post that letter, ring that company about that thing, hoover and tidy the bedroom, read half of that textbook, find a secondary source on this topic, etc etc. I try to tick my way through as many tasks as I can every evening in order to stay on top of things.
Keep a regular schedule
As I mentioned above, it is good to memorise and get used to a schedule of things. It keeps you focused for a few weeks and thereafter it will have become second nature and you can walk around doing everything on autopilot. A regular sleeping pattern will follow. Familiarity also reduces the risks of stress because you become so accustomed to it.
Make every single minute count
When you have 100 things to do at once, you might find that you procrastinate or are unmotivated to do things. You have probably not noticed how long every day tasks take so let me give you some hacks: if you make a cup of tea in the morning first thing, you can drink it as you get everything else ready for work/uni/ your day. If you put your laundry on whilst you make dinner, it will be done and ready for folding before bedtime, after you have managed to do every other task in the meantime of it washing. If the bus takes 40 minutes then that is 40 minutes of reading time. If the walk home from them bus stop takes 10 minutes then you have 10 minutes to ring people back/text/email people back on your list. The kettle takes 2 minutes so you can brush your teeth or pack your bag for the day etc whilst it boils. Every single minute counts so don’t waste a single one of them! They’re gold dust!
I feel like naps get a bad reputation and are associated with laziness. That simply isn’t the case- or at least not always. I am exhausted as I write this before my early evening nap. I take a nap around 6pm after I have either been at work or uni. I lay in bed and snooze for 30 minutes so that when Siri wakes me up, I have more energy in my recharged batteries to continue be productive from 7 until midnight. When I don’t nap, I barely make it to 9pm. (Okay, I’m back, I just napped. Literally couldn’t even talk about the effectiveness of naps without napping, I can’t help myself, I just can’t do anything without that little bit of extra sleep!) Anyway, yes, take a nap- for no longer than 30 minutes or you might struggle to sleep later on! You cannot run on nothing. And if you’re someone who finds getting up tricky then down a cup of coffee and then nap- the coffee kicks in to wake you up after 20 minutes!
Keep your eyes on the prize!
Sometimes life can be overwhelming. There are days where I work until my feet hurt and then I come home and nap and then eat and try to get some uni work done and I am up until 3am until I pass out in an uncomfortable arrangement. That’s okay, you did as much as you could. And know that, know your limits and congratulate yourself and give yourself credit when you have managed to do the impossible. The other week, I read for 6 hours each module alongside uni and work and I was tired and stressed but I did it so I have set a new bar! I won’t quit working because I am saving for a new house deposit! I won’t compromise uni because I’m achieving firsts and high 2:1’s and anything is possible! I won’t miss a blog post because I am truly passionate about everything I talk about and I know that talking is good for me and if only one person enjoys a post then I have still made something worthwhile!
You can do anything you want to do. All the great things worthy of your desire are the things that take a lot of hard work and effort to achieve. If you’re not tired at the end of every day then you aren’t working hard enough. Quit complaining about having no money or nice things and get yourself a job. Stop feeling guilty and unproductive on the sofa all day and get a hobby- find something that inspires you!
Here’s to the supermen and superwomen out there doing everything at once! You are unstoppable. You are wonderful.
Love to you all,