April has been one of my busiest months to date! It has been a combination of holiday in the sunshine, celebrations, revision and just trying to stay on top of my shit. University classes subsided at the end of March giving way to the Easter weekend and then I subsequently jetted off to Ibiza for a week with my sister.
As lovely as my week in the sun was I didn’t take my laptop so I got next to no blogging or university revision done. When I landed and headed back in Glasgow I fully expected to be chasing my tail to make up for lost time – especially as I was losing my weekends to a trip home and a hen party in Newcastle.
I’m not in any sense complaining because I love being busy but as exams are creeping around the corner I knew I had to be savvy with my time in April. I needed to manage myself (and not be tempted on too many wanders around the west end in search of coffee or Netflix binges) which got me thinking about all the tips and tricks I needed to make use of.
I thought I’d share as this month has not be a disaster. Despite all the appointments and social dates and holidays I’ve had a this month, I’ve got a lot done and I’m going to try being this organised in my life all the time.
Lists are your best friend when trying to stay organised. Inspired by my friend Charlotte I purchased a day-to-a-page diary to help me get more organised and it has been a life saver in April.
I write out a to do list the night before of all the things I need to do the following day and it has really allowed me not to get too overwhelmed and instead concentrate on the key things I need to get done like sufficient amount of revision or meet a blog post deadline.
Whilst an online planner is all well and good, you can’t beat writing things down on paper. I’ve had my Busy B diary since 2018 started and I would be lost without it. Balancing university work, deadlines and my life can be tricky but having everything down on paper is a big help.
It prevents me from causing a clash and lets me see my week planned out in front of me to see how my time can be planned. When I’m trying to be really organised I would write things down in different colours for different things (blog/uni/work/life/admin) but then I kept losing my pens. I still think this is a great way to stay organised if you are less forgetful than me.
Keeping Things Charged
I’ve been on the go quite a lot in April with travelling to Ibiza to spending time at home on the weekend to visiting Newcastle on a hen party. This meant a lot of time spent travelling and away from a plug.
I bought a portable charger from Amazon a few years ago and I would be lost without it. I would like a bigger one that can charge more than one thing at once but this one works a dream for keeping my phone all juiced up.
Before travelling I always make sure my laptop is fully charged so I can work on the go and try to sit where possible near a plug on a train. There is nothing worse than setting aside a two-hour train journey to some revision and realising your laptop is on 10%.
I like to describe myself as a pessimistic realist and it does come into strength when I need to be realistic with time. There is only so much you can get done in one day and it is not the end of the world if you don’t achieve as much as you wished.
When I’m hungover I’m only capable of firing up Netflix and making trips to the kitchen for snacks so it is unrealistic of me to expect to smash through four hours of revision after a night out in Newcastle. Same with travelling, I was exhausted the day after Ibiza so I took it slow to ease myself back into work.
I did less strenuous tasks on days like that – things I enjoy like typing up blog posts, writing lists and life admin tasks like popping to Boots for new shampoo and hair serum. I was still getting things done and not completely wasting my day but I wasn’t forcing myself into difficult revision that I knew I wouldn’t do very well anyway.
Having time away at the weekends also encouraged me to get as much done as possible during the week. I had to be realistic with my Monday to Friday so I could fully let myself go and enjoy my weekends stress free.
Big Food Shop
It is all too easy when things are busy to rely on takeaway sandwiches from Pret and Deliveroo on an evening to feed yourself. This is not good for your bank balance or if you’re like me, trying to squeeze into a dress for a party that you don’t want to look like a small troll at.
When I got back to my flat after Ibiza I made a point of going to Lidl and doing a big food shop. I bought a lot of vegetables, some fish, some goats cheese and nice healthy snacks like Nakd bars and hummus. Having a full fridge and cupboard helps you to focus on what you’re going to eat and resist the temptation of a Deliveroo scroll.
I also did some meal planning in April with my fave cookbooks: Jamie’s Five Ingredients and The Vegetarian Student Cookbook. I had a bit of a plan at mealtimes so I was productive and was eating things I would actually enjoy.
As busy as April was for me, I still found plenty of time to unwind and relax. I devoured Netflix on an evening after a busy day and when I was doing non-university focused tasks I watched on a split screen to make it feel less like work. I’ve chatted about everything I’ve been watching recently if you are in need of some inspiration for your tele time (including my fave North and South).
I also treasured things like showers, where I could really escape from technology for a while, and cooking where I can totally let my mind wander and do something meaningful. I also made sure to make time for reading, and not fall down an academic book hole again like I often do, to let me have some time to escape and not think about what was going on in my life for a while.
Ibiza, home and Newcastle where all times to escape but they weren’t exactly relaxation in my own company which is what I love the most. Setting aside time in the evening to just do me really helped me from getting overwhelmed.
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