original post date - august 4, 2019 #BossUp - Get AND Keep Your Life Together

​I've been waiting to write this post for a really long time, and the time has finally come. A lot of people ask me how I manage to stay organized and (seemingly) consistently on top of my game. I decided to post this now because school is right around the corner and I wanted to give some tips that y'all could implement during this new school year if you wanted to. The first thing y'all should know about me is that I'm too type A for my own good. It's more of a necessity than a preference. With senior year approaching, I'm entering a new chapter of life and that new chapter calls for a new boss-up. I've felt it coming for quite some time, but I've really been working on leveling up. That includes changing up how I do some things, adding in new things, and taking some things out.

One of my most important tools for my boss-up is my planner. Now, I'm the type of person who is willing to spend a good bit of money on a nice planner. For me, a planner just isn't for writing down to-do lists, assignments, meetings, and appointments. I buy planners that help me grow as a whole person, not just an academic. I get planners that include different areas for goal-setting, growth, space for financial planning, and other things I feel are relevant to where I am in life during that time. This year, I felt like the perfect planner for me to do that was the 2019-2020 Dream Planner from Horacio Printing. I've been setting mine up how I want and really taking the time to take the pages of the planner seriously. They are a faith-based company, and one of their goals is to help you grow as a person and grow in your faith during the time you use that planner. I love it so far and I'd definitely recommend it. Instead of telling you all the features, I suggest checking out the walk-through video on website. ​ ​In my planner, I color-code just about everything. Each class has its own color, things related to finances have are usually in green, general Claflin stuff related to the academic calendar or other events is in orange, and other areas of my life have their own colors as well. I'm a very visual person, so this helps me to see everything I have going on and what each thing is related to. I also started using washi tape in my planner for different things that I wanted to be distinct (ex. exams, conferences/trips, etc.). I believe a big part of bossing up is effectively managing time. We have 24 hours in a day to do what we need to do and some of us have more free time than others, but the fact of the matter is we have to manage the time we do have. To do this, I make a week-at-a-glance that breaks my week down Monday through Friday. I block out each class and all other free time is broken down by the hour. I download this on my iPad and fill it in week-by-week with meetings, lab times, or other things that I need to do. I do my best to stick to this, but I always remember to leave room to be flexible.

In addition to using a week-at-a-glance I made, I've also tried out some apps this summer to help me stay on top of my game. Neither one of these apps are free to access all the features, but they didn't cost much at all. The first app is called Productive. It's a habit tracker that is a few steps up from the reminder app in my opinion. You can set different habits for different times of the day, and the app will constantly remind you do to them. You can set individual schedules and times for each habit, pause a habit if you don't need to do it for a while, or set timers for habits that need to be done for a certain amount of time. Check it out in the here. The second app is called Focus Keeper. It's basically a Pomodoro timer app that can be customized to suit your needs and help with efficiency. I came across it during the last few weeks of my MCAT studying and I liked it. It runs in rounds where you focus on whatever it is you're doing for a certain number of time, have a timed break, and then repeat. You can also set a goal for how many rounds of that you want to complete a day. Check it out in the App Store here. Another thing that I think is important to bossing up is setting goals and having a journal to track where you are mentally when you don't want to talk about it with others. I have a bunch of stuff written in my journal, but it all pertains to me. Nothing in there is about anybody else because it's my space. I spend enough time doing for others and making sure others are happy. I need a space that it just mine for my thoughts, dreams, prayers, and plans. I also write my goals in there and check in periodically. If you haven't read my post about goal-setting, check it out.

Buying all this stuff and writing stuff down is cool and all, but there's one key to being a boss that you won't find at Amazon or Target - discipline. Being disciplined is not easy. It's work. It'd a skill that you have to strengthen. It doesn't come overnight, and it doesn't always feel good. It's what keeps us going when we don't feel like it. It's different than motivation, but they are both very important to being a true boss. The two are discussed in a great way in a blog written by Marshae Smith, owner of The Boss Life Brand. I love the brand and what it represents, especially because it came at a time where I'm working to boss up as well. Check the post out below.


​Thank you for reading this really long post. I wish all of you the best in your boss-ups and I hope you welcome the good things that are coming to you. While you're grinding for what you want, remember to make and keep your self-care a priority. You can't take care of business if you don't take care of yourself first. Live life. Be great. Flourish.

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