New transitions are always exciting and then when you’re in them sometimes you feel that you’re in totally over your head. After having to leave my job on shortish notice, I scrambled to try and find something to fill my time so I not only would it keep me from getting bored but also for me to do something that benefits me and my career aspirations. I had gotten accepted to an online Master’s program and at the last minute I decided to go through with it. Now I’m a American University, School of International Service student and I couldn’t be happier. Quickly moving from office life to Master’s student life has not been an easy task for me. The work load began when I was still working full time so I was rushing to get things done and I knew it would be a ton of work but I forgot how long it takes to get through readings and such. I felt like I was drowning in the emotions of leaving a great job and then all this extra work on top of it all. Finally I think I’ve figured this whole transition thing out and even though I have a 10 page paper due Sunday, I got this.
Get a Planner & Schedule Everything
For me, I’m not going to classes at a school, everything is online so it was real easy to think that I could go without a planner. I quickly realized that I can’t, I need to have everything written down. I’m not just talking about homework and deadlines, I’m also talking about meals, exercise, study time. Just like in Undergrad.
Create Your To-Do List & Create Realistic Goals
This kind of goes off having your planner and scheduling everything but you should also jot down all the little things that you might totally forget to do. I’m a chronic list maker because I’m constantly forgetting those tiny tasks. One note, if you have a large project or assignment, instead of putting the assignment on your to do list, write something like “Finish Project Design Outline” or something that is a little more realistic to complete in your allotted time.
Create Your Routine
I lost most of my precious time because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and then I found myself on instagram or something similar. Not having a real routine made me slow moving and made me want to spend the day in bed. It’s easy to rationalize this when you’ve been working in a stuffy office everyday. Now I get up and get ready like I would have in undergrad or for work (minus the boring business clothes). Yeah I’m only working at my desk and the only one who will see me is Conor but it makes me feel better and feel like I’m ready to get stuff done today.
I don’t know about you but I can’t work in a mess and my productivity declines if I’m working in a disorganized mess. This past weekend I spent a few hours just going through things and throwing out(or donating) things I didn’t need anymore. A friend of mine gave me this really great advice. Hold on to something that you love and use all the time and makes you feel amazing. Remember how that makes you feel and then start going through your things. If whatever it is doesn’t make you feel like that or you haven’t used it in a while and probably won’t (honestly now) then you should give it away, donate it or throw it out. I feel guilty getting rid of things sometimes because I think “oh but this person will be sad I got rid of the gift I was given” or “oh but I spent so much money on this” and the reality is that the item served it’s purpose and I no longer need it. My closet and my desk have only a fraction of what I originally had shoved into them. There’s still a lot more I can condense but that’s a project for another day.
My excuse for not having a consistent exercise routine was because of work and I had so much to do when I got home well guess what? That was totally just an excuse and now I have more time than ever. Finding an exercise routine that you enjoy is really important. I feel so much better after coming in after a run down the block and I feel so ready to get back to work!
So now that you don’t “have” to get up at a certain time it’s incredibly easy to binge watch your favorite show on netflix. Just don’t do this. It only makes you want to stay up later and later every night and encourages you to sleep in more. It’s a vicious cycle. Using electronics at nighttime is bad too because that blue light seriously keeps you up. I have even downloaded f.lux on my computer so when I have to work at night my screen begins to dim a red hue instead of blue so when I’m ready to head to bed, I’m able to fall asleep easier. My fiance and I swear by f.lux and if you have an android you can get something similar for your phone. Unfortunately I just have to practgice self control with my phone and just not take it off my nightstand.
If anyone has done a similar transition of just leaving 9-5 to something else please share with me what you did to make the transition easier!