Fall is in full swing. But for university students it is also a time of great struggle. The autumnal magic outside is gripping but you are stuck on your desk grappling with a paper. Starbucks is offering double rewards on PSLs but you have two midterms in a day.
No matter what city, school or year – we’ve all been there in the pursuit of degrees.
But just because it is Fall you dont have to fall behind. This is a conscious decision I made this year given that I have a different schedule with full time work and classes both. (More later on how I am actually keeping up with it)!
Here’s how to stop falling behind and start keeping up in Fall:
Acceptance is key
You cant be killing it all year round – accept it! We all have lows in the year when we just can’t keep up with our own expectations. This is more accentuated in fall because if you’ve had a smashing summer and come October-November things are getting a bit routine – it’s easy to feel burned out.
What you need is to accept that you are falling behind on school, work or other personal commitments so you can start (re)prioritizing.
Once you realize and accept you’re falling behind, you have to take action. And this action starts with intention. The intention to prioritize what is most important at that point and can be accomplished.
I have caught myself often doing a lot in a day or week but still feeling swamped in work that needs to be done. I have noticed that this is because even though I am doing ALOT I am not the doing the RIGHT things – stuff that actually need to be done!
Maybe it’s a coping mechanism or something for the brain where we’re trying to avoid the real things and giving ourselves the illusion of productivity. I don’t know, I’m not into workings of the brain and our psyche. But in any case you can change this by consciously and actively starting with things that need to be done.
Plan it out, write it down!
You’re thinking now this is all hunky dory but how do I do this! I do this by making lists. Lots and lots of lists and sub-lists in my planner (you can see a sneak peek here) which help me stay on track.
I admit there are things that always get rolled off to the next day and the next day but at least I can see them outside of my head and get it done at some point. Fun fact: currently this task in my planner is call the bank!)
Give your best, but leave the rest
Ok, so the heading may not fully reflect what I want to say. The idea is that even after you do everything to stay on track and still feel like you’re falling behind, let it go. We can’t be on top of everything all year round and its important to forgive yourself for this.
Of course, this is not to say that letting go and being easy on yourself should be an excuse to always remain a hot mess. This is life and you need to get things done – even if it’s a struggle sometimes, because small things add up to become a lifestyle, and an unproductive lifestyle can have serious consequences.
TL;DR: let this be a reminder that sometimes it’s ok to step back and (re)prioritize commitments to allow more productivity.