With the first day of the Spring semester successfully completed, I come to you with a topic that nearly everyone I know both in college and out of college struggles with: keeping a flexible schedule. Now, I will be the first to admit that keeping a schedule is a challenge in itself, but being flexible on top of that is nearly impossible at times, even for someone like me who is permanently attached to their planner. Between cancelled classes, pop-up parties, training, homework, and the occasional sick day, managing one’s time effectively is the ultimate struggle.
My class schedule this semester is anything but forgiving, and if you add the workload, necessary equine training, and Greek life commitments on top of it I can pretty much kiss a decent night’s sleep goodbye. Due to my packed week, I have had to make the executive decision to cut down my training from 5 days a week to 4, therefore supplementing my lost day of riding with an extra day at the gym on campus. Gross. While this is not the ideal situation, it is one that was brought to my attention when my mom asked me how exactly I was planning to pull of a 3-hour commute, hour and a half lesson, and then 9 straight hours of class. When I saw how crazy my Tuesdays were rounding up to be, I knew that forcing myself to go to the gym instead of taking my chances with LA traffic and a lack of focus was my best bet.
This brings me to keeping a schedule. I am a diehard fan of writing everything down exactly when it is planned or assigned, no matter what. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Birthdays, essay due dates, Greek life events, final exams, hair appointments, lunch with friends…you get the picture. After trying out nearly every method I could find, I have ended up with two methods that work the best for me: using a comprehensive written planner and tracking events on both my phone and laptop calendar.
Ah, the planner. I have been using the same brand of planner for the past two years, that brand being none other than Erin Condren, specifically her Life Planner. I have yet to find a better made and more beautifully designed planner, and I can vouch for how wonderful these are, for nearly every affiliated woman on Chapman’s campus uses one. The Life Planner gives me a place to record everything from assignments, riding lessons, and gym days to Panhellenic meetings and doctor appointments. With both a weekly view and a month view, I can easily flip back and forth to see my month at a glance and then plan my weeks accordingly, which comes in handy for planning term papers and scheduling lessons prior to a horse show.
Another planner I absolutely adore is the 17-month planner from Ban.do. I have the “I Am Very Busy” version in light pink and I absolutely adore its more compact size and easy-to use page layout. What this has over the Life Planner is that there is moe space for your individual day, which helps me a lot, and it also has a more laid-back and fun vibe. It even gives you fun challenges to complete every Sunday like blowing a big bubble or going down a water slide backwards!
Now, if old-school writing isn’t your style, I would highly suggest checking out the calendar that comes pre-installed on your phone and/or computer. I have mine open on my laptop literally 24/7, and am constantly updating it so I can see what I have to do that week and schedule things accordingly. I use my calendar as a supplement to my planner, putting in the big events I have to remember and the things that take up the most amount of time, that way I can see how much time I am spending on campus or at the barn each day and plan around it.
See what I mean? Trust me, as someone who was notoriously unorganized before coming to college, the sooner you can figure out your best scheduling method the better. It will not only save you time and prevent you from getting even more stressed out, but you might even be able to prevent procrastinating 🙂
As for me, it’s getting late and I need all the sleep i can get, so I’ll see you next time!