People often ask me "How do you do it all? Volunteer, do your assignments early, go to the gym, watch TV everynight...". I can do it before i've found a way to organise myself and make sure i'm efficient with my time.
I'm going to share some of my top tips on how I stay on track with my health, fitness and work (university work.. but work nonetheless) goals. How I keep myself organised on a day-to-day basis. Keep reading for all the deetz...
1 - Get a weekly planner
Having your week (or even month) set out in front of you in SO helpful. It really helps you to see what you have on a daily basis across the week. You can see what time you have free to fit in the relaxing stuff (Netflix, facemask, exercise...) or the stuff on your to-do list. I fill out my weekly planner at the start of the week and add things to it as the week goes on. In my 'free' time (the empty spaces in the planner) I jot down all the things on my to-do list e.g. write a blogpost, return some library books, charge my laptop - yanno, silly reminders basically so you don't end up wasting your empty time scrolling down instagram.
Takeaway: Jot down reminders and things you need to tick of your to-do list on that day. Write down any important meetings or times that you must stuck to so you can see it in one place.
2 - Now plan your day..
This is what I use my day-to-day view diary for. I will literally fill out my whole day into a schedule. Too organised? I think not. This is where I put my lectures, meetings and all the mandatory stuff that's on the weekly planner. What's different? In my diary it's more detailed. I'll have the time, the time frame, the room/place etc. On my weekly planner I just have it there in front of me so I don't forget. I will also then jot down the things on my to-do-list that I want to get done THAT DAY with a specific time-frame. I might not complete things on my weekly planner on the day I have jotted it down, so i'll schedule it in for the next day in my diary.
Takeaway: Use a diary to schedule your day in chronological order so all the scribbles and reminders on the weekly planners make more sense. A plan for your day.
3 - Give yourself a time frame
This goes on from my diary point above. Give yourself time frames for everything. This can seem a bit extreme but it's really helpful for staying on track. Some things might run over or need more time but do your best to stick to the allotted time. This really gives you a motivation to get it done. I like to tick things off when they're done and even give myself a little treat e.g. finish my coursework by 1pm and i'll make myself a cup of tea. It's a really satisfying feeling. Also, you'll soon get to grips with how to prioritise your tasks and get your timings right.
Takeaway: Prevent procrastination by giving yourself a deadline, a time-frame, a goal to work towards.
4 - Schedule exercise
You might wanna jot down 'push day', 'yoga', 'run' etc on the appropriate days on your weekly planner. Don't just write it down, that's not enough. Enter it into your diary as part of your scheduled day. Pick a time that's available to do your workout and treat it like any other appointment - unless there's a real emergency of course. A lot of people tend to ditch their workout because they forget about it, push to the end of their to-do list. Make it a priority. This also applies to your 'you time' and your facemask dates with a film. SCHEDULE IT IN.
Takeaway: Whatever health or fitness goals you have.. schedule it into your daily routine and tick it off as you go through your day.
I like a monthly wall planner for this or a calendar. Anything that has a little square for everyday of the month. I will jot down my deadline e.g. 'marketing presentation', '401 essay due' or 'Psych exam' with stars next to them. I will then write a little reminder on the square one week and two weeks before as a reminder of how long I have left. This helps with prioritising. Seeing it all laid out across the month is much more helpful. For me, a weekly view or daily view doesn't help to put it into perspective. Obviously as you get nearer the time you can schedule specific tasks e.g. 'work on introduction' in your weekly and daily planner.
Takeaway: Get a perspective that works for you - a month view or a list is always helpful to see this in a timeline view.
6 - Another health one.. MEAL PLAN.
On my weekly planner (or on My Fitness Pal if you're counting calories) I like to write down what food I'm eating and plan ahead for the majority of the week. This really helps so you're not panicking in the morning trying to make some food to take with you for after the meeting. If I can see that on Thursday I won't be home to make food, I can make doubles on Wednesday to take with me. This also helps reduce waste and make sure you're using up leftovers. It also helps to make sure you don't cave and go get that McDonalds on Tuesday lunch time because you 'didn't have time to make something'. This Kikki Food planner is the queen of health planning.
Takeaway: Make sure you have an idea of what you're eating for what meal and what you will need to make it. This way you can 'meal prep' and make doubles to keep yourself on track.
7 - Habits and goals
Set habits and goals for each week or bi-weekly so make sure you're doing the things you want to be doing and the things that will keep you in tip top condition e.g. sleep 8hrs per night, drink 2lr of water. This Kikki K 'Weekly goals and habits' tracker allows me to tick of my goals every day and give myself a little reward for doing it. For example my reward for 3 gym sessions this week will be a Costa coffee. It also allows me to clearly see my top 3 priorities for the week and what i need to do to achieve them (this is what i'll schedule into my daily diary).
Takeaway: Set goals and intentions for the week to prioritise what is important.
p.s. this is not a Kikki K advertisement I pinky promise. I just like their products.
Diary - mine is a day view from Card Factory, similar to this one from Kikki K but much cheaper.
Weekly planner - I really like this one from Not on the high street but, you can get them from most stationary/pound shops nowadays. The Zoella Stationary book is a bit too small for me but comes with a range of helpful bits.
Food, exercise and sleep planner - this is from Kikki K to keep a log of health related bits and bobs.
Monthly wall planner - At the moment I have this FREE January printable from Plainly but any monthly calendar will do.
- Use pencil - nothing worse than having to scribble out a change of plans.
- Use coloured pens to tick of certain goals or highlight certain important tasks or meetings that aren't going to change.
- Check your diary daily - morning is usually best because you don't want to be thinking about it all night.
- You forgot something on your to do list? Highlight it, underline it on your weekly planner or stick a sticky note somewhere you won't miss it.
- Spend time going through your planner and diary - don't neglect it and worry about going OTT. It's important to ensure your organised. In the long run it will really help you stay on track and be more efficient with your time.
- Habits take time to nurture so spending a month giving things a go and finding a system that works FOR YOU will be beneficial.
- Put things where you're going to see them e.g. on the wall in front of your desk, a sticky on your laptop or stuck onto your fridge.