By Kiley Peters. Many of us find ourselves wrapped up in the craziness of every day life. We try to build a career, clean the dishes, continue learning, buy classy clothes, maintain our relationships, help out our parents and have somewhat of a social life. It's hard, but it's also pretty rewarding when you get the chance to take a step back and admire what you've accomplished - and you should remember to take that step back every now and then. It's important.
I currently work a full-time job, manage a full-time graduate school load, am a freelance writer and digital marketer and also juggle my relationship, family and social life. I like to stay busy, but I've also learned the value of saying "no." You may not believe me, but for all the things I've said "yes" to there are three times as many I've declined.
A lot of people will ask me "How do you do it?" And while that's flattering, and I'm sure I could be doing a better job, I really chalk it up to the patience of my friends, family and boyfriend, along with being overly organized. So, that being said, if you find yourself in a similar situation and you're trying to figure out how to organize your crazy life, here are a few of my own personal tips - hopefully you find a few that might work for you!
- Automate your bill payments. There's a quote in the movie He's Just Not That Into You, where Justin Long's character informs Ginnifer Goodwin's character that "women like drama in their lives - that's why they wait until the last minute to pay their bills." Hey ladies, save your drama (or rather just don't partake) and automate your bill payments. You can do this for mortgages, rent, credit card payments, utility bills, you name it - you can automate almost all payments online through your bank. So save yourself some strife - and late fees - and automate your payments. Not to mention it helps raise your credit score...
- Create and live by your Google Calendar. If something isn't in my calendar, it's not happening. I currently have five personal Google Calendars, that I live my life by - which are all color coordinated (just like my closet). They keep me informed on all of my deadlines, due dates, appointments, social engagements and daily reminders. I'd recommend creating multiple calendars for various aspects of your life, because when you need to focus on one aspect, you can hide the others and you'll have a more clear idea of what's coming up for that specific topic.
- Write lists. I'm a list maniac. I have lists of lists. That's probably too far, so don't do that. But I always find that if I can write something down, it's one less thing floating around in my head that I might forget. Make lists of goals, groceries, daily/weekly/monthly to-dos, etc. One Note is a great FREE product from Microsoft that can sync up with all of your digital devices, if you want to access your lists no matter where you are. Whether hand written or typed, get them down so you can start crossing things off. And it's, oh, so satisfying when you cross things off your lists. It really is.
- Prioritize. It's a great thing to make lists, but you need to prioritize for them to be the most effective. Prioritize based on timeliness, importance and how much time or energy each task will require. If you can get something done quickly, sometimes it's best to get it done and over with to allow yourself more time to focus on a larger task. Other times, you might have to be ok with only giving 90% to a project so you can squeeze in doing laundry in the other 10%.
- Plan ahead of time. Once you have your lists prioritized, this will allow you a little extra time to prepare and plan ahead. If you know that you have a looming deadline next Friday, but before then you need to get to the gym at least once, grab groceries and you'd really like to go out to dinner with the girls Thursday night, no sweat. Just plan ahead. Get started on your project ASAP, grab groceries after work Monday, head the gym after work Tuesday and then make sure to tie up any loose ends by Wednesday evening and you're good to go for girls night out!
All this being said, don't be afraid to ask for help or a favor when you need it. People like to help each other out - which is why it's important to keep friends/family/loved ones at the top of your priority list.