Staying Focused When The Year Gets Busy

Hello lovelies! October has officially arrived and I couldn’t be happier! From crunchy leaves to pumpkin carving, I can’t wait for what this month has in store.

I hope I’m speaking for many when I say the last three months are the busiest and quite possibly the most stressful out of the year. Some years it takes everything I have to not get off track and finish the semester strong. Being a student completing my last year of school, I find my plate quite full with classes, organizations I’m involved in, an internship and a job! I thought it would be useful to create a list of ways I can stay focused and driven until Christmas break (at least).

Below are 8 ways to keep your head in the game and – out of the pumpkins.  (*wink wink* *nudge nudge* Any Office fans in here?)

IF YOU DON’T READ ALL OF THESE AT LEAST READ NUMBER 8 – IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT!!

1. WRITE IT DOWN

This is my number one rule for staying organized in general! If you make an appointment, write it down. If you have an assignment, write it down. Need to remind yourself to make a list? Write it down! A great tip for this is to color code! For example: I write all the finance related and exam information in red, this way I know that those are the most important things in my planner for that week. Homework in purple, meetings in blue…you get the picture. This just helps me have a general overview of how busy my week will be and…to be honest, it’s more visually appealing!

2. YOUR PLANNER IS YOUR BIBLE

The other half of “write it down” is look at it! I have a horrible habit of marking things down and never returning to that place where I first wrote it. I usually prepare for the week on Sunday afternoons, and luckily I haven’t broken that habit – yet! This helps make sure I have everything in order so by the time Monday rolls around, I won’t be scrambling for syllabi and stressfully scrolling through old emails trying to remember the time my appointment was. I also tend to write things down in more than one place. That Sunday afternoon involves transferring my schedule to a wall-calendar that I see every day. I actually show you this in a post where I talk about a few ways I stay organized here – hope you find it useful!

3. GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP

This is an area that I feel everyone is constantly working on because there’s just not enough hours in the day. That being said, the nights when I DO get a full no loud neighbors, no uncomfortable temperatures, no to do lists running through my mind, eight hours of sleep – those days are golden. You KNOW it’s going to be a productive day when that iPhone alarm (that you’ve heard 800,000 times) doesn’t instantly make you want to hide under the covers. So – as hard as it is, TRY to be in bed at least before midnight and I promise you’ll feel like a whole new person in the morning!

4. DON’T DELETE YOUR DOWN TIME

This is a real struggle this time of year. You are constantly on the go, always have projects to work on, and maybe even feel like you can’t sit down for a meal! BUT DON’T MAKE IT WORSE BY ONLY LIVING THAT WAY! You have to have relaxation time. I’m not talking once a week (hello Friday nights) – there has to be some time EACH day where you can exist for 30-60 minutes (more if you’re lucky) and enjoy not doing anything. Maybe this is your Netflix time, a video game, or a chapter of your book. Whatever it may be – don’t skip it! I like to spend these little moments in my apartment if I can, that way I’m totally focused on, well, nothing! But the corner of your fav coffee shop could work just fine too.

5. KEEP IT CLEAN

As I get older the one thing I have really grown an appreciation of is a clean house. *sigh* When I walk into a clean room at the end of the day it’s SO nice to feel open and not cluttered. I don’t keep a lot of things on my dresser because I feel that once I put a few things, before you know it there’s a mountain of school books, latte receipts, and hair ties and bobby pins galore. Try to make sure everything has a place and try to put it in said place the moment you don’t need it anymore. This eliminates the need to “pick up” when things get out of control – because hopefully they WONT be out of control!

6. A CHANGE OF SCENERY

While working on projects and studying for classes, sometimes you need a new view. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my little apartment, but sometimes it’s nice to be in a different environment with different vibes whether that be the library or the coffee shop. You’d be surprised at how a new location can spark a new drive!

7. SEPARATE YOUR SPACES

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME. In order to stay on track, I have to have places dedicated to specific activities. Eat at the table. Relax in the living room. Work at my desk. Sleep in my bed. If you eat, study and stare at your computer screen in your bed, your brain will start to associate your bed with more than just sleep! (PSA THAT’S NOT REALLY A PSA: DORMS ARE TOO SMALL) This is such an essential rule to my life, and if you’re lucky enough to be able to have separate spaces for all of these things then PLEASE utilize it correctly because it can work wonders! If you live in a dorm or a small space and don’t have this luxury, try to at least go somewhere else to do your homework and study.

Brains are weird. Contemplating writing an entire post about that last tip because it’s amazing how impactful it is! 

8. DON’T TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY

Nobody ever makes it out alive anyway. – Van Wilder (OKAY, okay – you can stop laughing now – it wasn’t THAT funny.) But honestly – life happens, we are all human and the sun is going to come up tomorrow whether you made it on time or not – so don’t sweat it.

There are just some of my ways to stay focused during the busiest time of the year. Staying organized is crucial, but you can’t pour every ounce of your being into work or school! Take some time for yourself to make your work even better. You deserve it! Happy October and good luck with the rest of 2017!!