I don’t normally read self-help books. I tend to find their advice tedious and less-than-useful. A friend once loaned me a book on how to make myself more appealing to men. I disagreed with most of the advice and stopped reading halfway through.
This book, besides the cute title, drew me in because I really do need to get my sh*t together. I’m sure my fellow pre-meds would agree that achieving a work-school-life balance seems near impossible. It may happen differently for everyone, but I tend to go through “cycles.” I can keep myself together for a few weeks, then everything falls apart. I tell my boyfriend I’ll “reset” over the weekend, but the return to productivity and my goals can be slow and agonizing.
Here’s a list of the aspects in my life that I feel I have to balance:
- Full-time Work
- School (class, school)
- Extracurriculars (research, volunteer work, lectures, etc.)
- Keeping House (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.)
- Relationships (family, friends, Boyfriend)
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
When I’m overwhelmed, my mental health takes a hit. This means I’m more likely to put off housework to try and de-stress. I may also overeat or eat poorly (I’m a comfort eater). Then I stress out about my weight and how messy the house is. I put aside schoolwork and extracurriculars to deal with that and the cycle repeats itself.
So I picked up this book to try and help myself. Besides being hilarious, the simple solutions the author offers have made a great difference in my life already. I can make a million to-do lists, but I have a tendency to procrastinate by being productive in other areas. Instead of doing my homework, I’ll do the laundry. The laundry needs to get done, but it isn’t due tomorrow (like my homework). Or else I’ll indulge in my nasty habit of “procrasti-baking” – baking as a way to ignore all the things on my to-do list.
The book gave me the solutions I needed. I make a running to-do list and then a “must-do” list. It helps me prioritize tasks, including my self-care and hobbies. I remain productive. The best thing about the “must-do” list is that my priorities can adapt to my day. With new tasks and deadlines I can adapt. At the same time, I can add on extra tasks (or me-time) from the to-do list if my priority tasks get completed.
My larger tasks get broken down into bite-sized pieces. My laundry room is a hot mess. I dusted the linen closet one day. The next day I cleaned the linens. The day after that I folded and put them away. There’s still more to do, but many of the blankets and pillows cluttering my space have a place to be.
The content from the book also adds a challenge. I have to accept certain limitations. There will be days where not everything gets done. I cannot clean an entire house of four people by myself. Sometimes I will have to delegate. This will probably remain a challenge for my control-freak personality, but at least I’m making progress!
It may not be related to medicine, but I highly recommend this book for any pre-med struggling to achieve a balance between medicine, adulting, and self-care.
Have you read this book? Did the strategies work for you? Comment below!