Five Tips on How to Stay On Top of Work & School

When I first became a part of the TENT team, there was a bit of a transition period. I was working three jobs, and I was in school for half the week. In the span of seven days, I aged about fifty years. I’m here to share some little tips that helped me get through the worst of it. And I might be a twenty-something-know-it-all with a decent wifi connection, and maybe that doesn’t make me an expert. But so far, stress has yet to win a battle over my sanity, so I must be doing something right. So, here are my five tips if you have too much work, too much school, and barely enough energy to manage it all.

Tip 1: If You Are Leaving Everything Until the Last Minute

Ah, procrastination. A tale as old as time. The time that we always seem to be running short of, despite our best efforts. But listen, it is normal and it happens to everyone, so don’t kick yourself over it! I’ve definitely been in situations where I can’t truly get to work until the eleventh hour (I am literally editing this past midnight).

My tip for you: Leave it until the last minute, but not the night before.

I found this especially useful during my time working on blog posts for TENT. It allowed me to crunch during a time when I was most productive, and then edit with eyes that have had at least eight hours of sleep. Please don’t do this with every assignment, I can’t afford the legal support I will inevitably need.

Tip 2: If You Have Too Much To Do

I got a five-dollar word for you, and it’s worth it’s weight in gold: Prioritize.

You have a lot to do, I get it. But with a little shuffling and prioritizing, you’ll be able to get work done with time to spare. Make a list of what needs to be done and how long each task will take. Then, finish tasks that require more time and have closer due dates before tasks that can be focused on later.

Working on the Theatre Entrepreneurs’ Networking & Training project, or TENT for short, gave me the opportunity to work with employers that understood my busy school schedule, and I never felt that my grades would suffer as a result of my workload. However, I still found myself with a pile up of tasks that needed doing from all aspects of my daily life. So I prioritized what needs to get done and what can wait. Doing this spaces out your goals and gives you a little time in between for friends and Netflix.

Tip 3: If You Lose Track of Due Dates and Shifts

Buy a calendar. Like a physical, on the wall kind of calendar. Then mark down every assignment at the BEGINNING of the semester when you get your course outline. This will help you plan ahead, and know what weeks will have the most workflow. Also, try to putting school assignments and  goals in separate colours. You don’t have to do this, but making your goals look pretty might make them seem less intimidating.

Built in phone apps are usually pointless (Seriously, who actually uses the Wallet app?). But the Reminders app? Pure gold. You can put your assignments on separate colour coded lists and mark them as done as the semester progresses. This is great if you need to quickly double check due dates while you are on the go, getting that bread and such.

Tip 4: If You Are Working From Home

This time last year, I had only ever worked jobs in customer service. Once I became a part of the TENT’s team, I had to adapt myself to an entirely new way of working, from the comfort of my own home. Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong. But also very distracting. Because yeah, I guess I could work on important things, but what about a three hour nap instead?

This is a dilemma that most people face in fields that require more of a technological presence than a physical one. What became an important part of keeping myself productive was finding a workspace that limited distractions. An added bonus to finding yourself this workspace is that you can keep it separate from your “relaxspace”. Find a spot that is designated solely to your work. You’ll be grateful simply for that fact that you can close the behind you whenever you’re done.

Tip 5: If You Have Fallen Behind, and Can’t Catch Up

Listen, it happens. Because of mental health, physical health, or your personal life, it happens. Something important to mention here: No one thinks any less of you for taking a day for your personal well being. Take two days. Take a week. You come first. Not work, not school. You.

It might be hard, but keeping people in the loop is the best thing you can do in this situation. That being said, work should not take priority over your mental health, but it will require more delegation to organize time off. Your supervisor should be understanding of your personal health, so let them know what you need to work at your best. I am lucky to be a part of a team such as TENT, where I am comfortable with communicating any mental roadblocks I might come across while working.

If you feel that you have lost too much time and are struggling to catch up, contact your campus’s student services and speak to a counselor. Learn more here or book an appointment.

I’ve learned a great deal, and have grown quite a bit during my time working for TENT. Follow TENT on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and watch as students like myself spread our glorious professional wings and fly into the sunset of infinite opportunity! Seriously though, follow us. Or at the very least, learn more about TENT here.