I’m so excited to bring you all our very first guest post! Today, one of my good friends, Lauren of Experience Exhilaration, is giving you ten steps to help you get your life together when it seems like everything is falling apart. Fun fact: she makes an appearance in one of my older posts discussing reconnecting and maintaining friendships. She’s an incredible writer and always has such thought-provoking perspectives, so I promise you it’ll be good. 🙂 Take it away, Lauren!
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren and I am a psychology student at the University of Maryland. My current field of interest is in biological psychology/neuroscience! I love to share my own experiences in life and learn about others’ experiences. I am a strong believer in learning from the many individuals whose paths you cross. Random fact: I love cupcakes 🙂
How to get your life together: from a girl who really doesn’t have her life together….
What it means to have your life together is subjective. For some, this could include personal health, finances, and interpersonal relationships. For others, maybe it’s grades in school and career goals. Maybe it’s everything.
If there is one thing that I believe to be true, it is that the majority of people do not have every aspect of their lives “together.” There will always be some challenge or dissatisfaction. But life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting or rewarding if everything in our lives was perfect.
Things overall though, especially difficult times in one’s life, are less difficult to deal with when other aspects of life are well managed or taken care of. I want to provide you with an inexhaustive list of tips that may help you feel like you’ve got it together.
1. Clean and organize your physical spaces.
Now I’m not a super “clean-freak” or anything of the sort, but I like to keep my spaces tidy. These are my own personal spaces that I have complete control over, like my bedroom at home or my single dorm room at school (or when I had a roommate last year, my portion of the room). If you’re living with others or under someone else’s roof, you may not have a say over that entire space.
Throw out, recycle, store away, or donate items around your space that you know you have no use for. Clothes, old documents, little knickknacks, you name it. Having less clutter is easier to manage and frees up space for other things you may need. Keep what you need or have a strong attachment to and organize it. Everyone has their own system of organization; do what works best for you!
Having a clean and organized living and/or workspace can allow you to work more efficiently and focus better!
2. Keep record of documents and important information.
Banking information, health insurance, school records, passwords, etc., are all things you should have physical documentation for. I keep these documents in organized sections in an accordion folder. I have sections for money/financial matters (banking info and paystubs from jobs), school and financial aid records, health insurance, and more. Everything is so much easier to locate. My important documents are secured in one place rather than scattered about everywhere in my room.
*Pro tip that I got from my dad: keep a small composition notebook for passwords for your online accounts and codes for other things. How many times have you visited a website that you don’t use religiously, only to find that you don’t remember your login info? Yeah, it’s kind of a pain. Cracking open that small journal could save you the headache!
3. Organize your digital spaces.
Clean up your phone, tablet, computer, and online accounts (like your email accounts). This is especially important to do every once in a while if you are someone who relies on technology. As a student, my laptop is my life. L.O.L. I am constantly typing up papers and submitting them online or downloading documents for class. Sometimes I get to that point when I have a bunch of random thumbnails clogging up the screen and I have no idea what they are for. When I get tired of it, I create folders to organize them. I am that person who has folders within folders x10 with meticulous labeling.
Other than digital documents, get rid of apps that you have no need for on your phone or tablet. You could free up quite a bit of storage space by doing that!
Are there people in your life that don’t seem to support you, bring you down, or just aren’t good for you? Do you have a toxic friendship or other relationship that isn’t healthy? There may be unresolved issues or a need to remove someone from your life.
This is extremely touchy and can’t (maybe for some) be done overnight. First and foremost, you need to really evaluate how you feel about this person and how they make you feel. Evaluate if you have certain issues with this person. After that, you may need to actually communicate how you feel with them. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. Maybe you and this person are no longer (or were never) compatible as friends or romantic partners, etc.
On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps you’ve grown apart from someone and you would like to reconnect with them. Figure out what went wrong and make an effort to get to know them again; if they do the same, then you know they still care and may want to have that relationship with you! Having the right people in your life can relieve so much stress you’ve been holding onto and gives you a reliable support network for when you need some extra help.
Related post: Social Media, Self-Worth, and You
5. Come up with a plan.
This past fall semester of my sophomore year in college, I was the most stressed that I have ever been. I was having a really hard time adjusting back into school and figuring out what I needed to do next in order to make progress. I had to figure out what courses I needed to take for this upcoming spring semester, secure a job for winter break, and start looking into financial aid for next school year as well as opportunities that will allow me to live on campus during the summer. All of this was on top of trying to manage my classes and their assignments. I felt completely off my game. Disorganized and disoriented. A. Hot. Mess.
I told myself to breathe and evaluate my goals and how I needed to go about achieving them. I sat myself down and came up with a “get-it-together” plan. Let me tell you, that made a world of a difference. I took baby steps to achieve my larger goals and I was able to stick to them because they were so easy to complete!
I highly recommend making a plan for your short and long term goals. That way, you won’t run around like a chicken with its head cut off like I did.
6. Utilize a planner and/or calendar.
When you’ve got a lot going on, it’s going to be harder to remember important appointments, meetings, and other events/occasions. Write. Them. Down. Just do it.
Also, periodically check your calendar so you know what’s coming up. Again, this makes life easier, especially when you have deadlines for work or school projects to keep up with.
7. Make those to-do lists.
8. Make time to just relax and have fun.
This is the ultimate recovery. I learned so much about sleep in a course I took this past semester called “The Biological Basis of Behavior.” Sleep helps with memory. Sleep helps to keep you from going insane (really, not sleeping for days on end will make you psychotic). You need to get a sufficient amount of sleep.
I am totally guilty of having horrible sleeping habits like not going to sleep. I am still working on my sleeping schedule, but let me tell you, when I get about 7-9 hours of quality sleep, my day and my work are so much better. If you are like me, try getting between 7-10 hours of sleep for a few nights in a row. You will notice a difference in how you feel and your performance during the following days.
Related post: Why I Prioritize Sleep as a Student
10. Keep your resume updated.
Whoever you are, whatever you do, keep a resume and update it as needed! Starting off, keep a sectioned list of all of your accomplishments, awards, volunteer activities, etc. (your whole life basically). Craft your resume with what you believe to be the most relevant information.
Having your resume and updating it regularly can allow you to breathe a sigh of relief when entering the professional world. You can use this when applying for jobs, apprenticeships, schools, and much more! Your resume basically tells others looking at it that you are awesome and know your stuff without them having to have known you for a few years.
Related post: Crafting The Perfect Resume
And that’s it folks! Like I said before, this definitely isn’t an exhaustive, all-encompassing list. These are just a few things that I do to feel like I have it together and I hope it helps you out as well!
I would also like to extend a huge THANK YOU to you Amanda for allowing me to write a guest post for your blog! I felt like this post really fits in with the themes of self-improvement and self-exploration that you exemplify in your blog.
THANK YOU all for reading and please share your words of wisdom in the comments below!
If you liked this post, don’t forget to see more of Lauren’s work at her blog, Experience Exhilaration!
If you have a topic you’d love to share with the world, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!