ASKMANDY: How to multitask time

Dear Mandy,

It’s just the beginning of the school year and I feel like I am already losing it. I don’t know how to make time for my friends, family, boyfriend and myself while I am in a sport and have school. It’s so hard to make time and stay organized at the same time.

Sincerely,

Stressed Panther

Dear Stressed Panther,

There are many ways you can multi-task and save yourself some time. The best ways you can make time is by planning ahead, making sure you stay organized and focused, and switching off each day. By switching off, I mean switching the days you hang out with your friends and boyfriend so you can cut down on the stress of trying to be everywhere at the same time.  But please remember, besides giving all your loved ones time, it’s important that you also give yourself some time and keep your mind clear to know what you want.

Louis C.K, a Mexican-American comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, and editor once said, “You’ll be fine. Feeling unsure and lost is part of your path. Don’t avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a deep breath. You’ll be okay. Even if you don’t feel okay all the time.” Coming from a smart man like him, you, and everyone going through the same thing as yourself, should take his advice. I want you to know that it’s normal to feel stressed out and worry that you’re not doing enough. 

First, you need to prioritize your responsibilities. In this case, school and the sport you’re in take precedence because those are your main commitments. Keep an agenda and write down all the homework you have for the day. That way you’ll have a visual of what all you have to finish by the end of the day, which will help you figure out whether or not you’ll have any free time later.  You probably spend most of your time after school at practice, so do your homework after that. If there’s any time left over, you can squeeze in some time with friends and family. Make sure you balance your time between your friends and boyfriend. Maybe hang out with your boyfriend every other day and get some time with your friends on Fridays so that way you can keep the weekends to spend time with your family. Use your words and talk to your friends, boyfriend, and family. Let them know you feel tight and need some air to breath. Those who love you will understand. And if you need some extra tips for time management and how to start some tricky conversations with loved ones, your counselors are always available for some advice. Swing by the counseling office to sign up for an appointment during one of your off periods.

And don’t forget that you need to  give yourself a break as well. What I mean by this, is that you are pretty young and you shouldn’t be stressing so much. You’re in high school, so you should enjoy the years you have left because they’ll fly by. If you feel stressed out to the point where you no longer can multitask your time, then maybe it’s time for you to take a break from a few things and give yourself some time to set your mind clear. You should be highly focused in your studies at the moment. You can’t let anything distract you from school. You can always talk to your boyfriend and let him know what’s going on. Maybe tell him that after your season is over you guys can continue talking and see from there what can happen, but that at the moment you don’t want to pressure yourself if you have no time to give him. Being in a relationship is also a huge commitment, so you must be willing to give time and attention to the person. But maybe at the moment you just aren’t ready, and that’s totally okay. As for your friends, talk to them. Let them know that you’re currently stressed and that you need some time. Again, friends who are worth it will have no problem giving you your space for a while.

Obviously, getting better at managing your time so you can still enjoy all aspects of your life is the most ideal. I was going through the same thing as you and was able to manage my time. Of course, it wasn’t fun having to tell my friends I couldn’t hang out sometimes, but I needed to make school my number-one priority and continue working hard to get better grades. And, it turns out, there are worse things than not being able to hang out with your friends every single day. So get an agenda, plan ahead, and start setting a few boundaries. Talk to the people you’re committed to (be it your parents, coach, boyfriend, or best friend) and let them know what you are feeling so they are aware of what you are going through.  If you still feel super stressed out, then  maybe it’s time for a break from the social scene.

And please remember that you are not the only one that is going through a rough time balancing your responsibilities. It’s hard, I know. But always take a deep breath and remind yourself that you will be okay, even if you don’t feel okay all the time.