As another semester draws to an end, I ensure to implement my self-care routine regularly to decrease stress. Today I share ideas that I implement to avoid burnout while preparing for end-of-term evaluations, exams, and my upcoming Christmas shopping!
Listen to yourself and your body/mind
If you want to take care of yourself during this time, it is essential to listen to what your body and mind are trying to tell you. Take a few minutes out of your day to understand what is going on with you. Are you tired? Are you stressed out? Are you eating regularly? To maintain your health and wellbeing at the end of term, cue into the signals your body sends you.
Create a visual calendar
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I like to create a mini, visual calendar of tasks to accomplish during the week. This enables me to visualize what is left to finish and I can divide my To-Do list into smaller tasks.
Try new exercise
I recently implemented mindfulness and deep-breathing exercises into my daily routine. Exercise helps me to de-stress and relax any racing thoughts. The newest routine I’ve implemented is deep-breathing and guided meditation through an app called Calm. This app features meditation exercises, deep breathing, and ‘Bedtime Stories’ to help you relax at night.
What methods do you use to decrease end-of-semester stress?
I love to plan. I usually buy a new planner every January, but this year I decided to buy a new one in November. The planner I previously owned did not have adequate space for my daily scheduling and I know I’ll need more writing space once I head into a new internship in January.
What planner did I buy?
I bought a large, spacious planner from my local bookstore. This one originates from a brand called ban.do. It features a 17-month spread (August 2017-December 2018), color-coded tabs and yearly/monthly/weekly calendar pageviews. To satisfy my inner organized nerd, it even contains a coil-bound closure and internal pockets.
So, why did I buy a new one before the year ended?
This new planner serves two purposes:
- It tracks all my reminders – Important dates, reminders, and schedules popped up throughout this semester. I already used up a lot of space in my previous planner, and required more writing space to track everything. (Grad photos, party reminders, group work, etc.)
- I can schedule activities in advance – I already have a few important dates scheduled for 2018. This new planner allows me to write those dates and times without waiting until January.
Tips to set up a new planner
Setting up a new planner doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Here are three tips I use whenever I buy a new one:
- Transfer all important dates into your new planner before throwing the old one away
- Determine how you will colour-code your planner to organize it
How do you organize a new planner?
Finding the right planner for you can take time. Picture this: After finding the perfect planner at your local stationary store, you stare at the blank pages, unsure of exactly where to start. Today I’ll share tips to help you use those pages!
1) Use a single planner, if possible
It can be cumbersome to manage both a personal and work planner. Find a planner you can use to record business and personal tasks. This will streamline your tasks, due dates, and appointments. A bonus tip: It is a good idea to consistently check your planner to review the day ahead.
2) Create a list within your planner
I make lists often. I list each task to be accomplished by the end of the day, and check them off as I complete them. I enjoy the motion of marking a check-mark next to my list during the day. It provides both a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3) Slow down in order to speed up
Set aside time each week to plan ahead. Inputing tasks and reminders for the week ahead offers you time to organize thoughts, de-stress, and provides a clear view of what you plan to accomplish. The act of physically writing out your to-dos is an effective tool for cognitive recognition.
4) Use a color-coding system
My favourite method of colour-coding is using different pens or post-it notes. Use a different colour for each specific task you need to remember. For example, reserve a pink pen for exam dates, a blue pen for reminders, a red pen for appointments, etc.
Do you use a planner? If you do, is it an effective tool to keep you organized?
We all have days where we have a growing list of tasks – and it seems like there isn’t enough hours in the day to complete them. How we manage our time to complete those tasks is time management. I use these tips daily, but they are especially useful to me during a new semester.
1. Complete the most important tasks first
This is prioritizing. Prioritizing is the golden rule of time management. Determine which tasks are the most crucial, and complete those first. Once you complete the essential tasks, you can move on to those which are not as crucial.
It’s tempting to hit the SNOOZE button. I’m writing this post while watching the sun peek into my bedroom window. I decided to get an early start and complete one task before my day fully begins. For example, I wake up at 6:30 on mornings I publish blog posts. You can surprise yourself at how much youdoh during the rest of the day!
3. Use a calendar
Using a calendar is important to time management. If carrying a paper calendar or agenda is not your style, a range of online software exists to create one! A calendar can simply list each day of the week. Most agendas, in comparison, are useful for planning hourly tasks.
I like to plan. I’ve used various planners throughout the past couple years. These have included three notebook-style ones, and my phone. Staying organized keeps me calm – my to-do list, and relevant due dates are all visible in one place. Today, I’ll share tips I use to maintain my planner for organizing.
Dedicate a specific day to plan the upcoming week
I take one day per week (usually Sunday) to sit down and plan my week. I pencil in any weekday and weekend plans, and appointment dates. Dedicating a specific day of the week for this task keeps your brain refreshed. My Kate Spade planner offers separate spaces with monthly, and daily views.
Using different colours for appointments, assignment due dates, and other items. This helps separate them. I use a different colour pen for each of the courses I take in a given semester. For example, I write due dates for one of my Social Work courses in blue ink while I write Sociology due dates in green ink. Colour-coding is effective to ensure important dates stand-out from daily activities.
Prioritize each task
If you’re like me, you often have 100 different things and ideas in your mind at once. Writing a prioritized task list helps you identify the most important ones.
What are your top tips for using a planner?
I normally toss my makeup in a polka-dot bag. Searching for a certain product is often difficult. I recently decided to compose a solution to keep my products organized, and in easy reach. Today, I’ll share some of the tips and tricks I use to organize my makeup collection.
Invest in a storage unit.
A storage unit can be anything from a shelf to a makeup bag. Having a physical space to hold makeup products keeps them together. Transporting products is often easier. I currently use the bag below to hold my all my products. When I travel, I downsize to a simple zipped bag, or a Ziplock bag, when in a pinch!
Dedicate a space for your makeup products.
If you have many products, a dresser drawer or shelf space in a closet is ideal for storage. Dedicating a specific space for makeup products allows you to keep them together in one place. To simplify your organization further, organizing similar products together can help. For example, anything from a coffee cup to a clear plastic container is ideal for storing brushes.
Clean out your makeup stash.
I know, it’s tempting to hold onto that berry lip stain you bought a year ago, just in case. Every month it’s a good idea to go through all your makeup, and toss anything that has expired, or you have not used in a while. This de-clutters your makeup collection. Tossing old products minimizes the chances of bacteria transfer as well. Your face will thank you!
Do you have any tips that you use to organize your makeup? I’d love to hear them!