1. S C H E D U L I N G ✨
Scheduling is THE most important thing I do to make my lifestyle work. Not only do I plan every day by the hour (sometimes half hour) but I also plan my weeks, months and years far in advance because I have to make sure my competitions and rotations/research deadlines don’t overlap (to the best of my ability).
Funny story: I just met with my old teammate to discuss the fencing season. She asked about the timeline of future competitions and I rattled off the dates of the next 5 competitions like it was my own birthday.
But I digress...
If you don’t use schedules you absolutely should start. It keeps you aware of the projects/assignments that need to be finished in the near future and when you should be moving on the next project. It also hold you accountable for activities you should be doing like hitting the gym but can never seem to get to because you “got stuck at work.” .
Now, I don’t want you to think I’m perfect and adhere to my schedule every single day. There are some times I can’t leave work exactly on time or I stay later at practice but overall making a scheduling helps me realize where I need to be and what I need to complete each day.
2. E F F I C I E N C Y ✨
Step 1 is creating the schedule. Step 2 is sticking to it and eliminating as many distractions as possible.
What motivates me to be as efficient as possible??? It’s pretty simple. I don’t have a choice.
My fellow researchers can go home after the work day and read up on research articles or keep cranking out papers. My competitors are training twice a day and I’m only training once.
I don’t have time to get sidetracked. If I don’t complete my weekly activities I’ll be behind for next week. The same thing with fencing. If I have 3 weeks to perfect a new action before the next world cup I have to utilize every single bout in practice to the best of my ability. This means I have to maximize my practice time and focus on every bout to get the most out of my time.
But I’m human! After working nonstop for 4 hours I want to have a conversation with my coworkers and it’s easy for that quick chat to turn into a 15 minute conversation 🤦🏽♀️. So don’t be to hard on yourself for slipping through the cracks occasionally. The goal is to steadily increase efficiency and reward yourself when you’ve completed little tasks or conquered something big.
If it’s hard for you to be efficient, aka you sit down to complete a project and an hour later you have once sentence typed because you’ve been on IG the whole time, start with baby steps. Set a goal to work for 1 hour straight with no distractions and then take a 15 minute break.
Becoming efficient is no easy task but once you see the benefits there’s no better feeling!
3. R E F L E C T I O N✨
So you set all your goals, start following your schedule, but are you making progress?? Are you in a place where you can realistically achieve your goals?
Reflection takes a lot of maturity. Besides determining what actually needs to be done to reach your goal you have to be honest about what you’re doing to match that.
If you have an exam coming up how much should you be studying? While you say you’re studying the right amount of time are you getting side tracked? Are you retaining all the information? Are you going through the motions or actually being productive?
It’s really important to reflect on your progress. Most importantly BE REAL with yourself. Lying to yourself only prolongs your progress and stunts your growth.
If you’re doing everything possible and things aren’t working out reach out to your support system and get their feedback. If you are following your system and reaching your goals then keep crushing it!
4. T E N A C I T Y ✨
“You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something. There is no doubt about it.” -Denzel Washington
When you set a goal, there are going to be setbacks that test your dedication and strength. Failure is inevitable, but knowing that doesn’t stop it from hurting. Sometimes it may feel like it’s taking unnecessarily long to reach the objective but don’t focus on how long you think it should take. Focus on learning from each mistake and use the obstacles you encounter to make you into a stronger individual.
Don’t be afraid of failure because if you don’t fail you’re not even trying.
5. S A C R I F I C E ✨
Last gem!! This situation is a rare occurrence. I hardly ever see my friends. When I first started competing in med school I missed out on everything and it really tore me up. I had the worst case of Fomo and felt like a bad friend and a bad family member. .
I told my bestie I was sorry I always missed his birthday because we had a World Cup the same weekend every year. Like a real friend he said “You do whatever you need to do to achieve your goals. I’ll be here whenever you need me to.” .
You can’t be everywhere. You can’t do everything. In order to truly reach your dreams you have to focus on the necessary activities and cut out everything else. This might mean missing birthdays, weddings or even cutting people out of your life if they aren’t supportive. At the end of the day you’re going to have to make sacrifices and you should never feel guilty for making them.
These are my secrets for juggling multiple activities and reaching your goals.