Greetings friends! As I write, I’m currently in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere, trekking to the Caribbean. I’m continually amazed by the power of technology and how it equips us. I used to love reading historical fiction books and it’s crazy to me how back in the day, people had no way of knowing the whereabouts of those at sea and now I can Facetime, call, and text my family and friends back home while on a boat.
Honestly, I really wanted an “unplugged trip” but unfortunately school requirements means that I needed wifi and I also had to study. I long for the day when I am able to tell my assistant (yes, I want an assistant) to take my calls and emails for a week while I jet-set with my family. Until then I don’t think I can realistically say that I can totally let go of working even while on vacation. Personally, I always feel like I’m struggling to juggle what I want to do and what I need to do. Usually what I WANT to do consists of facetime, youtube, sleep, and spending money and what I NEED to do is usually 95% studying and 5% sending emails and 5% following up on things. Let’s take right now for instance. I’m currently snuggled up on my pull-out bed in my room on the cruise boat, updating the blog as a quick break, and then I’m gonna hit the books again. My parents are currently at a show with some friends. I made the choice to sit this one out since we’ll be on the island all day tomorrow and I want to fully enjoy that experience and not worry about doing work.
Was it a hard decision to make? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely. So how do I do it? How do I manage to find balance in my life and juggle the things I want to do and the things I need to do. I’ll share my secret with you… you ready? It’s really simply actually. All you have to do is BE ORGANIZED and BE PREPARED TO SACRIFICE. For instance, today I knew we were spending the day at sea. I checked today’s schedule last night and there wasn’t much that really caught my eye. I just wanted to lounge by the pool and fall asleep under the sun. There was a late night performance that I was tempted by but I knew there were performances that were more enticing later on in the week. As a result, I chose for today to be my heavier study day. I made a schedule and pretty much stuck to it:
7-9am = study
9-10am = workout
10-11am = breakfast
11-12pm = shower and such
12-3pm = study in the ship’s study
3-5pm = lounge by the pool (and bring my ipad to get some reading in)
5-6pm = get ready for dinner
6-7:30pm = dinner
7:30pm = optional show or study
I didn’t stick to the schedule perfectly. For instance, I woke up at 8:15 instead of 7 and I decided to head to the pool at 2pm instead of 3pm. I ultimately opted out of the show tonight because there’s 2 shows tomorrow I want to watch and tomorrow we’ll be adventuring the island so I figured I’d likely get zero work done tomorrow. As a result, it made sense to grind it out now and enjoy tomorrow. I’m still going to try to get a bit of review in tomorrow am before we get to the port at 10am, but if I don’t, I won’t be too upset. I mean, I am on vacation so I deserve a bit of a break here and there.
For some, being organized and having a schedule is stressful. But for me it’s an essential part to juggling my obligations. As you can see, I left room for breaks, and I was realistic with my time. It was more of a guide and I am pretty flexible as well. For instance at 2pm I realized I wanted to maximize the sun as much as possible so heading out to the pool early made sense. Thankfully I’m able to study in the loudest of settings so I was unbothered while I was getting my reading done on my iPad with Caribbean tunes blaring and children screaming in the background.
You don’t have to create as detailed of a scheduled as mine, but at least have a plan. I know that some people feel overwhelmed by schedules so perhaps you don’t want to outline exactly when you’ll be studying but saying something like “I want to get 4 hours in of studying before dinner” is better than not having a plan at all. By having a plan, you have a way of gauging your productivity.
The next secret to finding balance is to be prepared to sacrifice. I say this because sometimes, we forget that we can’t do it all. On this trip I knew I’d have to sacrifice something. Ultimately, I chose to sacrifice some of the cruise activities like the show tonight. My other options were to sacrifice sleep, time with family, or sacrifice my study time, but none of those worked for me. Accepting that sacrifices are part of the hustle makes it easier when it comes time to actually give something up. During the cruise, it was hard to walk away from the rest of the group, but it was slightly easier because I already mentally prepared myself that I’d be giving up a few things on this journey of mine. Also keep in mind that school and work doesn’t have to always be the priority. There have been plenty of times that academics came second to my well-being and happiness (thankfully my med school is pass/fail so because grades don’t matter it’s easier to make this sacrifice).
At the end of the day finding balance takes a lot of work. But with a little bit of planning and a little bit of sacrifice you can truly make anything happen. Okay I’m off to get more work done but I hope this post encourages you to get after whatever it is that you’ve been pulling off. If I’m in my room on a cruise studying then you can make the sacrifices and organize yourself to be checking things off your to-do list too.