Someone recently asked me how I managed to balance all of the things I have going on in my life and I didn’t really know how to answer their question. I have always been pretty ambitious when it came to anything I wanted to do and I knew that I was busy more often than not, but I had never really thought about how I handled it all. I just did it. I never really gave myself an option to not handle it all.
The past year has really been the peak of how many things I have piled onto my plate. Between being a resident assistant at college, riding on a competitive intercollegiate equestrian team, buying and riding a new horse, maintaining a 3.5 GPA with six classes, working to support my horse, being in a healthy relationship, creating and writing my own blog, as well as writing for several other sites, and trying to have a social life, it can be tough to keep my head above the water sometimes. So the question is, how do I do it?
- BUY AN AGENDA – This sounds so simple, and it is. When you have so many different things to keep track of, an agenda is your best friend. I purchase a new daily planner each year and I try to find one with a fun pattern on it so I am more likely to use it (Lilly Pulitzer always has ones with beautiful patterns inside and out). I like to plan and write down EVERYTHING that I am committed to inside my agenda. This helps prevent me from forgetting about something I need to do and makes it much easier to figure out what task I need to complete first.
- USE YOUR PHONE – Most smartphones have a calendar app of some sort. I eat, sleep, and breathe by mine. By scheduling out my time in my phone’s calendar and color coding it, I know where I need to be and when I need to be there. Plus the colors make it all a little more fun. It makes finding time for yourself a lot less stressful. Speaking of that…
- MAKE SOME “ME TIME” – Life can get stressful really quickly, so it is important to still make time to relax. Whether it be a few minutes to listen to some music or an hour to ride your horse, schedule yourself some “me time”. Find what helps you keep your sanity and cherish every single moment you get to do whatever it is. I like to take a few hours and spend them at the barn with Ax. Sometimes a few hours turns into all day.
- SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE – This one is SUPER DUPER important. No one needs negative people in their life, and when you’re a busy bee it is hard to keep focus when your friends are trying to pull you away. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who understand how busy I am. I am also fortunate enough to have a family and boyfriend who are extremely supportive of all the crazy things I decide to do and who are willing to help out when things get tough.
- SLEEP and if not, COFFEE – I am such a hypocrite because I never get enough sleep. Like ever. I am always up until way too late, sleep for a few hours, and regret it in the morning. As a result I have become a caffeine addict. When I need my coffee, I NEED MY COFFEE. But on those rare nights that I do go to bed at a reasonable hour, I wake up feeling like a new woman. Seriously, it is amazing what a full nights sleep can do. I find that the more sleep I get, the more motivated and productive I am the next day.
- MULTITASK – I feel like my mom has been telling me to to do this since forever. More often that not, you can get two things done at once. When I am on campus rounds we must remain in our building, so it forces me to stay in and do my homework. I often cool out Ax while reading something for class or typing a new blog post. Or I will bring my boyfriend to the barn with me, so I get to spend time with both of them at once. It is surprisingly easy to kill to birds with one stone if you get a little creative.
- Most importantly, NEVER QUIT – No matter how full your plate feels or how heavy the world is on your shoulders, quitting isn’t an option. And if you feel like it may all come tumbling down, find someone to lean on. Whether it be a friend, a significant other, or a family member, there is always someone there to help. When there is no option to quit, the only choice is to keep fighting. Hannah Brencher said, “Maybe no one ever told you that but that’s the sweet spot– the moment you want to give up but nothing in the air around you is willing to accept you walking out the door as a quitter today.” I don’t think that sentence could be more true. Whenever I feel like giving up, I find the sweet spot, grab it, and run with it.
Handling all the things in my life is nothing short of a balancing act. But if I can balance on a horse, then I can balance my life.