Let’s face it. Most students who are getting a graduate degree are driven. Many, including me, work full time. And many are taking two classes and still trying to achieve balance in their lives.
I am known for my project management skills in my professional life and my personal life as well. I am organized and I find myself in constant assessment mode: Are there easier ways to do this? Is this task necessary anymore? I take pride in being on top of my schedule and use several tools to assist me with all the balls I seem to be constantly juggling these days.
This summer, I have had some personal and professional setbacks. I have questioned whether I am on the right path and have even wondered if there is any point to all of the organizing I do. However, after a very personal loss yesterday, I am very glad that I have maintained my organization skills and carried them over from my professional life into my schooling. Life happens and, sometimes, no matter how much you think you can follow that path you have set yourself on, there are obstacles or incidents that can set you back.
For whatever reason, I listened to my inner voice the last few weeks and tried to work ahead a little on my projects and homework. I am a huge fan of white boards: I use them to map out deadlines, keeping track of dates, and then have the satisfaction of wiping that line off the board. Also, I always have notebooks on hand to keep a running list of things I need to do. Sometimes my lists look pretty funny: Write blog, get groceries, laundry, read chapters 3 and 6, etc.
So, even though I have 3 projects due in the next two weeks, the new term is starting soon at the college I work for, and I am in charge of a large library open house that involves months of planning and is happening this week, I feel pretty calm. After my initial panic, when I realized how little schoolwork I accomplished in the last few days, I took stock. I rewrote my list to prioritize what I needed to have done for the week and then mapped out the other work into time later in the week and next weekend.
With a partner who constantly tells me that my job is to get my degree, I knew I could sit at the library today and do my reference observation. Having that kind of quiet, yet focused work helped me realize that I will be alright.
And so, as the month unfolds, I will be able to take the time to grieve for our beloved dog Cody, who we lost yesterday after ten lovely years in his presence. Life can cause interruptions, some more difficult than others. But if you take the time to map out all of your tasks and obligations, you may find that some can go to the bottom of the list – and some may not even be necessary. Remind yourself that you’ve got this. It helps.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few links that might help.