Hearts pounding, anxiety going through the roof; the whole room went quiet as the final results came in.
I was six months into the Louisiana Gubernatorial Election, and we were going into a highly contested primary. I had spent countless hours at the office and in the field doing everything I could to win this election for my candidate.
All the while, I was taking 18 hours of college classes.
I had my fair share of challenges along the way to manage my time and balance both a rigorous workload and the demands of college classes.
Let me share with you the three steps I used to successfully balance both a 3.9 GPA and win a primary election.
1. Be a Master of Your Time
To be a master of your time doesn’t mean you have a crazy calendar and have everything preplanned and written down. It just means you effectively use the time you have to your advantage.
In the middle of work and school, you have a lot of things flying at you at once -- like assignments, due dates, and personal life. It can seem very hectic at times, but don’t panic. Instead, prioritize what you must get done first, then go from there. Often, people get overwhelmed with how much they have to do. Instead, you can focus on what needs to be done and do it effectively.
The best thing I did was set a timer for myself.
This did two things for me. It allowed me to dedicate a certain period of time to one particular project, then once the time was up, switch to the next item. It also pushed me to get the most work done in that time. I created a competition for myself.
2. Turn Off Your Phone
This one should seem self-explanatory, but it needs to be said. I don’t know how many times at work or during a school assignment I would take a “break” on my phone and it turn into a 30-minute Twitter scroll. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a notification, and not being able to answer it.
Instead, just turn off your phone.
I would say, “I’m not turning it back on ‘till I am done with this work project or school assignment.” You will be surprised how much time you will save and how much more work you will get done.
3. Communicate with your boss and professors
Probably the most used relationship advice phrase ever is, “communication is key.” This couldn’t be any closer to the truth. Having a good relationship with your boss and professors is very important. You need to communicate with your boss often in order to establish that connection with them.
A great way to establish that connection, is to prioritize their time.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you have a school assignment due next week and you know it’ll take a good chunk of your time to complete. Instead of telling your boss the week of, tell him, “Boss, I have a big school project coming up and it’s going to take a lot of time. Is there anything I can do for you early, so I can have more time later in the week?”
They love this, because it shows you care about their time and getting your work done. Likewise, the same goes for professors. They will appreciate you communicating with them, and you’ll be surprised on how many professors will give you the homework early or give you an extended due date.
Managing both a job and school is very tough; it is not for the faint hearted. You’ll have to make many sacrifices to effectively get everything done. You have actively taken the first step in balancing your job and education. If you incorporate these small steps into your daily life, you will be well on your way to success.