Something that I’ve noticed over my years in college is that I like to make schedules and lists. It started out with simple things, like reminders that I needed to finish my physics homework, or that I had a quiz to study for that was in the following week. However, making a schedule/list has become one of those things that help me keep my sanity. I mean, sometimes I’m not sure I would ever get to the gym/grocery store/class without making one of these schedule/lists.
You see that I call them schedule/lists, and that’s because that’s what they’ve become. I usually start trying to make them into schedules, I’m one of those people that need to plan out every minute of every day, so they’re all divided by times of where I should be. But most also include what I should be doing, whether it be reminding me what homework or studying I should be doing (Quantum Final-Thursday, Inorganic Final-Friday), or what food I need to buy at the grocery store (or not buy for that matter), they really help me keep my sanity.
Other than my sanity, these schedules help me keep up with going to the gym and still getting all of my school stuff done. Being in graduate school means that you have to sacrifice a lot of your time to things that you would rather not be doing. While my advisor thinks that Friday afternoon at 3:30pm is a great time for a group meeting, I could name a good amount of things that I would much rather be going. So, keeping to my schedule that I’ve planned the day before (or sometimes on Sunday or Monday, pending how the week has been going) allows me to make sure that I do everything that I want to do as well as the things that I must do. Because even though some sacrifices must be made, one that should never be made is giving up something you love or something that makes you healthy.
For this reason I also like to plan what I’m going to eat for the day ahead. I usually just sit on my phone with on the MyPlate App pushing in what I have in my fridge, knowing already the time that I have available to me to be able to make food and still get everything done in the day that must be done. By doing this, I know that I won’t have to run to the restaurant across the street for lunch, or have to grab something on my way home from campus because I’m starving. Being able to plan out my meals is part of my schedule and again, part of what keeps my sanity. That’s not to say that every once and a while when I get home I really just don’t feel like turning on the oven and waiting an hour for dinner, so I opt for something fast and easy instead. That happens to everyone. But I do try to make recipes at least double or triple so that I’m able to have healthy leftovers incase that ever happens. Plus, making extra means that you have a healthy lunch ready for the following day!
So what do I propose? Take five to ten minutes before you head to bed to make sure that you have your following day at least half way planned out. That way you’ll never skip the gym because you forgot that you had an hour to kill in the middle of the day, and you’ll never have to grab a burger and fries from across the street because you didn’t realize that you’d be away from home all day. Giving yourself a few minutes to plan your day will allow yourself to keep on schedule, keep healthy, and keep happy!