Precautions to Avoid Work Overload

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Students leaders have tendency to commit to several activities during the semester.  On top of a class schedule, students will sign up for student organizations, volunteer, hold part-time jobs, and manage a social life.  Very enthusiastic leaders might sign up for too much that they can handle.  When setting your schedule, consider these tips:

Run through an example scenario of your day

Sometimes a schedule may make sense visually on your calendar, but can be physically exhausting when actually fulfilled.  Take a day or two to run through your day on that current schedule.  Did things pop up that you forgot to schedule?  Did you have time for homework, sleep, and mental breaks?  Keep in mind that you will have to manage that schedule for several weeks – sometimes up to five days a week, which can lead to burning out.

Examine your syllabus

Don’t be caught off guard with too much classwork.   Be prepared for when you’ll have a lot on your plate by reviewing your syllabus and scheduling accordingly.  You’ll be able to schedule time off, and less likely to write the cliche “Sorry, it’s been really hectic because of midterms…” email.

Offer to be a consultant

If you are really interested in a club or organization, offer to consult on the side.  This way you can still hold a leadership position, but you won’t have to commit as much time.  Or, consider taking the lead on a small project.  Again, you’ll still be in a leadership role, but only for a limited time.

Don’t burn bridges

At the end of the day, no one likes an unreliable leader.  As we wrote previously, your professional network begins to grow in college, so it’s important to avoid burning bridges.  If you realize that you won’t be able to fully commit to an organization, then it’s best to break ties – cleanly.  Honesty is the best policy, and since overcommitment happens to a lot of of people, most people will understand and respect you for sacrificing your role to be fair to the group.

Have your own tips for managing a hectic schedule?  Share them with us in the comments.

Shannon Lehotsky Shannon Lehotsky is the Marketing Director for Wiggio.  Before graduating from Emerson College, she was involved in over 10 different student organizations.

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