True life: I never stayed up past 10 PM studying in college — yep, even for finals.
People think it's absolutely NUTS when I tell them I maintained a nearly 4.0 average all through undergrad without a single all-nighter pulled for studying.
Then they think I'm even MORE looney when I tell them I never stepped foot in the library until I was a senior & when I finally did it was because a class required us to meet there once.
The earliest I remember learning to time manage, prioritize and build a schedule for myself was 6th grade - yep, 12 years old!
That year, I was moved up into a high-school-level ballet class, was taking 3 other dance classes on top of that one AND had a school teacher who gave my class more homework than I ever would have in high school. I had to learn early-on that year, that if I wanted good grades, I needed to prioritize and schedule. I still thank my 6th grade teacher for that year!
High school consisted of class all day, followed by gymnastics/cheer practices, followed by dance classes at 2 different studios - one of which was an hour away. On top of that, I was also choreographing/teaching dance as well and taking advanced/AP level classes. Again, time management came into play. Socializing during the week wasn't an option, aside from chatting with my fellow dance peers and school-mates. Typically weekends were saved for homework and lots of sleeeeeeep.
College seemed a breeze compared to high school and being given "free time" in the middle of the day was a concept that threw me for a loop and gave me anxiety for a while, because I was so accustomed to ALWAYS doing something. I hated the feeling of doing nothing, so I quickly filled my schedule up. And by the time I was a junior was balancing 4 part time jobs, an internship, doing CrossFit and taking full-time classes.
Even now that I own my own company and work from home, I follow a very structured routine, daily because it gives me a sense of satisfaction.
As you can see, my background with time management stems back over a decade, so when people started to come to me looking for advice on how to create a daily routine - it took me a while to put into words and create a method since it had been ingrained in me at such a young age.
To me scheduling gives me pleasure and following a structured routine minimizes stress and anxiety — but I know that’s not the case for many, so here are my BIGGEST tips to creating a well-managed routine that's easy to stick to.
✅ My #1 biggest tip is to create both macro and micro lists of what needs to get done and WRITE IT DOWN. Don't rely on your brain to remember.
- The macro list should be a calendar with all major events and important dates. Color coding is high maintenance, but HELPS when it comes to organizing big trips, meetings, appointments, birthdays, events, etc.
- The micro list should be broken down into daily/weekly to-do’s in order of their priority & chronology so you can check them off in order as you go.
What I do personally, is utilize Google Calendar to create my macro list and what needs to be scheduled daily/weekly/monthly etc. Then, I use the NOTES app in my phone to create daily checklists of what I need to do each day. I used to hand write EVERYTHING and had 2 planner books to keep myself on track - but since I work online, the mobile/internet versions have become the most efficient and useful for me.
The reason I'm telling you all of this is to hopefully shed some light that creating a schedule and a routine is quite simple. It takes me about 30 seconds each morning to create my daily tasks and about 3 minutes every Sunday to look over my weekly plans.
It's so easy to cast aside our goals because we THINK we are too busy. But if you actually take the time to write out a schedule for yourself and time block your tasks, you'll start to realize that it's not in fact that hard to fit in a 30 minute workout into your day, cook a healthy meal for dinner instead of stopping at Burger King, or take your dog for a longer walk.
The longer you use “busy” as an excuse to not step out of your comfort zone — the farther you distance yourself from your goals.
If you have questions about time management and how it can apply to your life - please reach out via my Instagram @michele.jeannette OR email me firstname.lastname@example.org!