How to Balance School, Work, and Fun

I would consider myself the poster child of a “hot mess”.

When I say “hot mess,” I don’t mean the ‘Britney Spears goes crazy and shaves her head’ kind of hot mess, I mean more along the lines of ‘girl who is awful at time management and can’t seem to get her shit together’ sort of mess.

My purses are thrown on top of my closet, my inbox is filled with important yet unanswered emails, and I lose pretty much everything (my roommate can attest to this.) Heck, I haven’t even written a blog post in 2 weeks! This is partly due to my struggles with organization and multitasking, but also partly due to laziness-I know that I can fix it if I take the time and effort to.

You’re probably thinking “Hannah, you’ve just told me how you’re a hot mess…why should I listen to you about advice on time management?”

Valid point. But since I do have experience as a poor time manager, I can relate to you a little more, which hopefully will make this post more helpful. That being said, here are techniques that have helped me survive my first year of college.

To-Do Lists

One of the things that has helped me the most is making lists. (much like this one) I always keep a note on my phone with a list of what I have to do for the day and the coming week. To me, it’s a lot easier than making a list in a notebook because I can easily change or erase something if I need to. Doing this has helped me to organize my thoughts and creates a feeling of productivity when I’m able to check something off. There are also apps you can download for this, but personally, I always get bored and forget to check those after a week or two of use, so I’ve found that the notes app is just as effective for me.

Excel Spreadsheets

As boring and painful as it sounds, making spreadsheets has had a significant impact on my previously lacking organizational skills. Excel is designed in a way that makes organizing things easy-as long as you know how to use it. I find myself making spreadsheets for deadlines, which makes me more aware of when I have to get certain things done by and allows me to prioritize tasks based on their deadline date.

Self-Reward System

Not to go all Pavlov’s Dogs on you, but the reward system is actually pretty effective when paired with a moderate amount of self-discipline. If I have a project to work on or a test to study for and I can’t seem to get motivated to do it, I tell myself that if I make myself work for a certain amount of time with no distractions, I can reward myself with a good snack or a Netflix break.

Dressing the Part

Although this is probably the easiest tip for me because I am a fashion student and surrounded by other well-dressed fashion students every day, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the effort you put into your appearance can affect your self-confidence and even productivity for the day. Maybe it’s just me, but when I’m wearing sweats and a t-shirt, I feel more apt to take a nap or watch a movie more than anything. Likewise, when I’m wearing an outfit that makes me feel stylish and confident, it helps to boost my motivation by reassuring myself that I can do whatever I need to get done for the day because I’m not a ~complete~ hot mess.

Working out (and eating well)

This one is definitely mentioned in almost every motivational tip guide, but that doesn’t make it any less important. It sort of goes along with dressing well as you should be taking care of your inward appearance along with your outward appearance. Personally, I don’t have a set schedule of when I work out, I just try to get to the gym 3-4 times a week. I also try to eat as healthy as I can given that I’m limited to a crappy dining hall meal plan-side note: FIT is globally acknowledged for a lot of things, but their dining hall is certainly not one of them.

Let me know if any of these tips helped you or if you have any of your own that you’d like to share!


Millennial Chanel


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