Balancing Busy-ness / by Jasmine Tate

I graduated from the best high school in Louisiana, went to a college where I was more than a number and mastered in public relations at the university that takes its students #ToTheTop.

Each time I began a new chapter I walked away with experiences that I will never forget. Excitement comes every new academic year, semester, and graduation season, but what I was most grateful for were opportunities to gain experience, make friends and be actively involved in my campuses and communities outside of the classroom setting.

In addition to class projects, papers and late night study sessions, cheer practice, chapter meetings, conferences and part time jobs kept me busy. I look back on one semester in college when I worked three jobs, completed two internships, volunteered at North Oaks Health System and remained involved in numerous student organizations on top of an 18-hour course load.

With a lot of free time on my hands, now, I often think about the days when the pages of my planner and to-do lists were full. I wonder how I managed it all successfully. Then I look at my planner and realize that it saves me every time.

My grandmother once said “If you have a place for everything and everything in its place, your house will never be out of order.” I’ve never forgotten that piece of advice, and I try to apply it to my life as well. This is where a planner comes in handy.

No matter how expensive, spacious or pretty your planner is, it’s useless if you don’t use it appropriately. Read on to learn how I managed my planner as a tool to balance the hectic schedule I maintained and all responsibilities that came with it. Real World Recipe… Coming right up!


-          Planner

-          Pen

-          Content (syllabuses, schedules, etc.)


1.       Write all important dates and deadlines in the calendar section of your planner.

2.       Create weekly to-do lists.

3.       Refer to your planner three times daily, at minimum.

Optional Toppings:

-          The Traveling Stick: I write down major responsibilities on a sticky note and transfer it each week to make sure nothing gets overlooked. Examples: Personal, Internship, PRSSA

-          The Secret Code: Bic Pens are perfect for separating academic and professional from personal and social on your calendar. Examples: Deadlines in red; date nights in pink; football games, concerts, and girl nights in green; meetings and appointments in blue

-          The Flashlight: Highlighters are perfect for things that are left undone at the end of the day or week.

Additional Notes:

-          It helps me to have a specific day and time to prepare for the week ahead. During my last semester at USM, I planned my weeks on Sundays after church and evening yoga.

-          Detailed to do-lists are important to making progress on things that need to be done. Avoid vagueness. Plan steps to complete big projects versus writing the project on your list.

-          Spread your tasks out based on urgency to avoid cramming everything on one day.

-          Transfer incomplete tasks to the next week to avoid flipping back.

I’ve tried many recipes that I now follow regularly and have tossed others. Hopefully this one is one you can add to your collection and share with friends. I’d love to hear about your results. Please share!



Jasmine C. Tate