Balancing Show Season with the School Year
Just recently, I went to the Four States Fair in Texarkana, AR to help exhibit some good looking Herefords for a breeder I know. Going through that week leading up to the show, I was trying to get assignments upon assignments completed before I left so I could enjoy my weekend. Makes sense. Well, doing this reminded me of how tough it can be to juggle show season, school hours, AND your extracurriculars...that doesn't even include your personal time! I was thinking about how I balanced it out in high school and realized that there are individuals who are having the same challenges balancing it all out, similar to myself. This gave me the idea of sharing some of my personal tips on how I manage my time and balance out busy schedules! Throughout high school and even college, I've developed new ways of organizing my time, especially with as much as I'm involved in. Not saying that all of these steps will solve everyone's problems, but maybe beneficial to help take a load off your shoulders. There will be times of stress and moments that become overwhelming, but for me, as long as I stick with my agenda, I am pretty solid!
*Side note, I'm currently taking 18 hours of college classes, participating in 6 organizations, am an RA, and have a personal life outside of it all. I know you probably think I'm crazy and have no social life whatsoever, but I'm able to do these things because I have a routine I've developed to help me stay on track! So here is what I do:
HAVE. A. PLANNER!!! This is the BIGGEST thing that gets me through the week! I have so many events happening all at once, whether it is a competition, show, or even a school-related task. I am a person who likes to write down my thoughts and ideas, so having a physical planner is great! This helps me keep in mind of tasks I want to get accomplished that day, and even gives me a preview of what to expect that month so that I can plan ahead. I use my phone calendar too so that if I don't have my planner on hand, I can whip it out and have it upload a specific event on every device (makes life SO much easier). It helps me when there are meetings, outdoor events, or anything relating to a time where my backpack is not with me. There are apps that I like in the app store too, like google calendar or even the apply calendar, which has really helped keep me on top of my agenda. I keep both my planner and phone calendar in sync so that I can rely on either of those calendars.
Wall Calendar: Don't like carrying around a planner? Well then I recommend getting a whiteboard calendar that can be helpful with keeping up with your homework, events, and other things! I have it so I can look at what is going on for the week and not miss a beat. With that, I have also bought a bunch of different colored dry erase markers that I designate a color with a class/organization. This helps me know who the event or assignment is for without taking up so much space writing it down! Plus, if you are artsy, this is a fun way to draw and be creative with your board!
Make your day into a job: Not literally, but act like it is! If you are an individual that needs a structure during a time where everything is online (like it is now), I recommend this! Make it a goal to do all of your work from 9A-5P and anything outside of those hours are YOUR time! Not only does it help you accomplish more, but it helps you get up early and lets you enjoy your evenings to hang out with friends or maybe just mentally relax. For me, being able to have this routine helps me better focus on my daily tasks and shapes that structure I need for the week (especially with all of these online classes). Plus, the faster you get those assignments checked off your to-do list, the less work you have for the next day OR the more free time you have for that evening (whichever floats your boat).
*If you wanted to, I additionally devote one day of the week to relax. Since I go to church on Sunday's, I consider that day of the week as my day of rest. This helps me make some time for self-care, not to worry about assignments, and reward myself after a long week of hard work.
Take one thing at a time: Something I used to do is write out every single little thing that I had to do that week and expect myself to complete them all before that upcoming Monday. Seeing a big list of things to do COMPLETELY overwhelmed me, and I spent more time stressing about which one to start with rather than getting the job done. Well, a friend showed me something that helped organize my time better and even encouraged me to feel less stressed and more accomplished! Simply, just pick a class or task and split it up into smaller portions. For example, I am not a reader WHATSOEVER (if you are a bookworm....go you!) so when I read, I get distracted too easily. Instead of forcing myself to read a chapter of a textbook in one sitting, I divide the total number of pages in that chapter by the number of days I want to complete the chapter. That number you get after splitting it up is the number of pages you read each day, leading up to the day you want it completed by. This helps me focus on a smaller portion of work each day and lets me get other things accomplished since I am not dragging out one task for the majority of my workday.
Set reminders if you need to: I am a person who needs to make checklists or set reminders on my phone. A lot goes through my head daily, so being able to have something to help me focus on my priorities really helps. Especially when you are on your feet all day and have something you need to remember, you can whip out Siri and she has your back! When it comes to that time my reminder goes off, I have probably forgotten about that particular task and end up becoming so grateful for setting up that reminder (**pats myself on the back**).
The ABC method: I usually use this in moments where I have a lot to do in a short time. I label my tasks A, B, or C; where A is the most important to get done, B is something that needs to get done but can wait till later, and C represents the last thing I need to focus on at that moment. It just helps with focusing on the major things you need to get accomplished rather than mess around with the little things that can be done later. Usually, my A's consist of school assignments, tests, studying, etc. while my C's are more of personal things, like laundry, cleaning, and even going grocery shopping (just to give you an idea).
It is ok to say no: Now this is a concept that I have had the hardest time learning... well that I am STILL learning. I am an individual who is always wanting to take on new opportunities, but sadly, we can't do it all. I mean, you CAN do it all, but at what cost? Losing sleep? More stress? It isn't worth it. Something my grandfather has told me that I've always kept in mind is that you can be good at many things, or you can be great at a few things. What is your choice? (Side note...maintaining a few things that you are passionate about and focused on helps you excel in those activities way more than if you were to be balancing 500 other things...I know from personal experience).
Take a breather and relax: I know that a busy life can get overwhelming sometimes, but I've learned that you got to take care of yourself first so that you can take care of business. Make sure that you get enough sleep, make healthy choices, and go have fun! Life isn't always supposed to be about work, work, work. Enjoy the time you have in that moment because you can't get it back once it is gone. Don't let things, like a test, stress you out so much where you can't enjoy the events taking place in your life, like your livestock shows or FFA/4H/college competitions. Enjoy the time you have now and accomplish what you can when you can. Now, I'm not saying to slack off, but make sure you have a healthy balance between completing your work and having fun with life! It goes by quickly, you don't wanna miss out on it:)
Organizing time is a difficult task to master and something that I am still working hard on to develop myself. These tips are from what I've learned throughout high school and college that has helped me strengthen that skill. I hope these tips help you out as much as they've helped me! Enjoy your livestock show season, those competitions, and even longer hours at the barn trying to work the best you can! Go to those football games, participate in the school musical or do whatever you're passionate about, and don't forget to put your best out there! As long as you are working hard and performing your best, you are doing amazing:)
Thanks for reading! Thank a farmer and GO LOCAL!
Have a special trick that helps you get through the week? Comment below what it is and how you do it!