As I’m sitting here writing, I am holding my baby who decided she doesn’t want to sleep quite yet, trying to figure out when I will have time to run to the grocery store this week, looking at three loads of laundry that I have been neglecting to fold, and wondering why I thought juggling so much at once was a good idea. I thought—Sure! I can handle running a business, being a new mom, AND starting school all at once! Let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy, but it has made me feel good about myself. I have a new sense of pride of knowing that I can handle this challenge that I have thrown at myself. I feel good knowing that I am doing all of this to provide a better life for my daughter. And, although I’m going to let that laundry lay there unfolded for a bit too long, I think I’m doing a pretty good job.
The only way I could possibly keep sane trying to juggle everything is by staying organized. When I started school, I knew I was going to have to rearrange my time and prioritize differently. School is very important to me, but my daughter is my biggest, most important priority. Being a full-time student and leaving the house to work, I don’t see her as often as either one of us would like, so I refuse to miss any time that I have to spend with her. I decided that I would not do any school work when she is awake. When my daughter naps, or goes to sleep for the night, my focus shifts to school and things I need to get done for my job. I always start by making a list of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Deadlines are a must when trying to prioritize what needs to be done first. It is also helpful to write down how long it may take to complete each task. The deadline and how long each task will take can help determine what task should come first. I like to start with my hardest task; you know, the one that makes you dizzy just thinking about it. Get those dreaded tasks done first so you can get your mind off of them and move on to easier, less stressful tasks.
Another part of staying organized is making sure that you have a neat, consistent work space. I am fortunate enough to have my own office at home. Don’t have an office? No worries—you can still set up a consistent work space. Before I had an office, I used my closet as an office. It’s all about finding a space that you can claim as your own; a space that allows you to keep all of your work in one place, where you can quietly work without distraction. Having a set work space doesn’t guarantee instant organization. One thing that has really helped me keep an organized work area is color-coding. My notebooks, folders and binders for school are blue. My supplies for work are all green. This way, when I need to work on school work, I can pull out all of my blue supplies and not have to look through things to differentiate between school and work.
Staying organized is essential when you have a chaotic life like I do. I pat myself on the back for being the best mommy, wife, student, and dance coach that I can be at this time in my life. I’m sure this isn’t the ideal lifestyle for everyone, but I am enjoying it. Hats off to all the other students out there that also have jobs, families, and other activities going on. It’s not easy—but we are doing it!
Submitted by Kaycee Welch