When it comes to balancing workload and daily commitments, there’s no better juggler than the student-athlete.
Every week during the school year, we manage 15-21 class hours, daily practices, workouts, meetings, study tables, travel, meals, hobbies, family life and a social life, and still find time to fit sleep in. Here are a few techniques that have been successful for me and I hope that you can apply it to your daily lifestyle. Let’s juggle!
1. Live life in quarters
As a student-athlete I break my year down into four quarters, giving myself time to breathe and feel like I’m making consistent growth. Specifically, I do the following:
- Quarter 1: Set goals and start strong.
- Quarter 2: Work on completing short and seasonal projects.
- Quarter 3: Roll out seasonal projects, then focus on completing the bigger projects.
- Quarter 4: Wrap up and roll out major projects. Recap my year’s progress.
From short-term goals of losing weight or completing small house projects to bigger goals of building a business, starting a new hobby or going back to school, this strategy can be used for virtually any set of goals you may have in mind.
2. Get into game mode
Getting into “game mode” allows me to focus solely on the task at hand. This mindset allows athletes to eliminate all distractions and complete whatever feat we set out to do, regardless of how tired we are. This is because we see a direct outcome when an intense effort is put forth. This works well in life, too.
For example, take studying for class.
Create a playlist for your study sessions. What music puts you in the most productive mood? What is the soundtrack to your study life? For me, I listen to my favorite movie soundtracks. For me they elicit specific moods and imagery without the clutter of lyrics.
Set a goal for your study session. If we were in the gym, we’d create our measurable workout for the day. Maybe it’s working on our back and biceps. We’d have a time and a certain amount of reps for each. The goal would be to finish the workout, no matter how long it takes and how hard it is to finish!
You can do the same for your study session. Consider knocking out five slides today or two chapters from a textbook. Lock in and do whatever it takes to reach your goal.
3. Recover through meditation and timeouts
A major part of an athlete’s success is the recovery and maintenance of their body. This is just as important as the workouts and games themselves. Why not apply this to your everyday life?
Set out times in your day for you to do nothing but think. I typically focus on things for which I am grateful. This allows me to clear my head and reenergize myself.
4. Fuel your creative beast
I’ve learned that what fulfills me isn’t the hours of work I put in, the sacrifices I’ve made, or the positions I have had. It’s the balance of my passions that has been most rewarding.
Doing what you love is renewable energy to do what you need to do. We all love sustainability, right?