So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:34)
School is almost over and finals are here. Have you ever been in the middle of studying when you get a text from a friend wanting to hang out? You may be going your separate ways because this is your senior year of high school or college. Wanting to make the most of your social hours is completely normal, but what if it’s getting in the way of the things you have to do, like finalizing the details of life after school?
Even if you’re not making a huge transition from this school year to the next, days are still being checked off the calendar and deadlines are waiting to be met. It’s hard not to daydream about Pinterest vacation destinations and sleeping in when you can almost feel the summer breeze. Looking forward to that transition can sometimes make us lose our focus on the here and now.
If just the thought of having to hunker down and follow through on something makes you want to run out the door to take your mind off of it, try these tips to help you balance your to-do list without feeling overwhelmed by it.
- Put away all distractions. When it comes to studying, in particular, every social media notification on your phone and computer screen can completely throw you off. If possible, go to a space where you know you won’t be interrupted. Put away all technology devices and remove yourself from people and environments that keep you from staying focused.
- Accountability. Do you know someone who can hold you accountable to your goals? You can even pick a friend and check in with each other once a day or week to see if both of you are on track. Sometimes it helps to know that someone is rooting for you and going through some of the same things.
- Have a reward system. When I was in college, my least favorite thing to do was clean my room. I remember my mom offering to help me as she had a tiny intervention one day about how cluttered my space was. I always wondered, “Where do I even start?” Once I decided how to break up the amount of work that needed to be done, I would promise myself a reward. For example: “Once I put the clothing away, I’ll get a snack. Once the floor is completely clean and the bed is made, I’ll watch one episode of my favorite show.” It gave me something to look forward to and helped my brain to rest between bursts of cleaning.
- Simplify. Sometimes the culprit isn’t that you’re not trying to finish what you need to do—it’s that you take on far too much. When you consider your plans, are there any activities you can remove without causing a negative rift in your schedule? You may have planned an extra errand that would be nice, but stressful to execute in a balanced manner. You could also be promising too many people too much of your time. Think of things you can start crossing off your list if they aren’t really helpful in the long run.
- Take it one day at a time. When it comes to everything you need to do, it can seem like an endless mountain of tasks. Focus on what you can do today. Which things have the soonest deadline or take more time? Write a list and then put a due date next to each task item. If you spread them out on your calendar throughout the day or week, it will keep things from cluttering up your mind or seeming next to impossible.
Let us know if you try any of these tips and they help you to get stuff done.
Are there any things you would add to this list?