How to manage your time when you are hopelessly overwhelmed by life

Most university students hold down at least one job, if not more. Personally, in addition to working as Opinions Editor, I work as a concierge in a hotel. Yes, it drives you crazy at times (as it has been doing lately). So I figured this week, I’d write an article about how to balance work, school and a nonexistent social life.

The key to it all is not panicking and planning ahead. Panicking happens when you realize that you have a test every single day of a week, a 10-page paper to write, you need to get your article written and the others edited. Oh yeah, you’re also working five days a week, eight hours a day. Have fun with that. The first step is to take a deep breath and not burst into tears immediately.

The next thing you need to do is plan. Take the time to write out a set routine. You cannot possibly get everything done in one day, no matter how much caffeine you consume. Create a schedule and dilute the work. For example, write two pages of the paper per day, outline your points and focus your energy for one of those points. Do the same for your other work, but be careful not to disperse you attention too thinly or else your work will seem scatter-brained.

Believe it or not, you can survive working through all this. Use your time wisely — instead of gossiping with coworkers over your break, keep your tablet or laptop handy and use the time to draft ideas for some of your shorter works (like the newspaper article). Because shorter pieces tend to require a bit less flow from point to point, you will be able to break it into sections a bit easier than a longer essay for a class that might take more effort.

I know it sounds crazy, but save the easiest project for last. The harder work requires more effort and you don’t want to be burned out for them. The easier projects will be a nice respite, and you will feel accomplished after having finished the more onerous tasks.

As I said, social life is a big part, and while you might not be chilling with your friends, it doesn’t mean you have to withdraw and become a hermit. Your friends have gone through this before, and they’re your best support system during these stressful times. Call your bestie and vent if you need — soon it will be your turn to return the favor.

Mind you, there’s a difference between venting and whining. Don’t be a pathetic little ball of self-pity. No one wants to deal with that. However, do use your resources — oftentimes when exhausted, you overlook little details that can cost major points. If you can get your professor to look over rough drafts, do so.
If you’re a procrastinator like me, read it out loud to family and send it to friends. By doing so, you might catch mistakes you might not have caught otherwise.

Relax, calm down and you’ll be fine. Believe it or not, it is not the end of the world. You’ve survived this throughout high school and before in college, you can handle it this time. Once it is all done and you sit with a well deserved glass of the good wine you saved your tips to buy, everything will seem as if it were no big deal and you had it down pat from the start.

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