Hi everyone! Today I’m here with my advice for managing busy schedules during performances, summer programs, or heavy rehearsal periods.
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Organization and time management is very beneficial to your success in both academics and ballet. It also develops important life skills that will come in handy later when you are employed.
Efficiency with scheduling and organization can create more time that can be spent however you’d like it to be. With that time, you can go for a walk, talk with your family, watch a good TV show, go out to a restaurant, or maybe even do a bit more stretching! It can be whatever you want it to be, and that’s very important.
But, while a strong foundation and state of mind is vitally important to successful time management, there are also various tools you can use to increase your chances of actually creating more free time instead of just a few extra minutes before heading to bed. In this post, we’re going to explore these tools.
Planning it out
The most important factor of an organized life and efficient day is a strong schedule and routines. This schedule can have a hierarchy and many sections. I like to have separate monthly, weekly, and daily planners, as well as a set daily schedule with routines. The hierarchy of schedules start of rigid and then get more casual. Let’s go more in depth with each one:
THE MONTHLY SCHEDULE can be used to organize major events, or whatever you’d like. My routine is pretty consistent, so I don’t really have any major events to organize. I use my monthly schedule to organize my blog posts. It is located on a whiteboard calendar that hangs on a wall in my office.
THE BASIC DAILY SCHEDULE is located on my management site. I will probably do a full in-depth tour of this in a separate blog post (and maybe video!), but this will just be a few shots of the scheduling section. The “basic daily schedule” organizes my daily routine as it typically is – except in special cases (these are organized on my weekly schedule). Here’s a screenshot:
THE WEEKLY SCHEDULE is located online on my management site as well. This organizes events that are unusual to my routine daily schedule. The schedule also includes when daily blog posts and newsletters as well as my outfits every day for the rest of the week. Here’s an example of this week’s schedule:
THE DAILY SCHEDULE is located on a whiteboard in my office. It is small and changes – sometimes it is an in-depth outline of my day complete with time and order of operations, whereas sometimes it is simply a to-do list with whatever time I have. When I don’t feel the need for a specific daily schedule, I sometimes use the small whiteboard for homework and other studying tools.
Setting a goal
Sometimes, people can get overwhelmed with everything they have to do – whether it be homework, corrections they have to think about during a combination, or endless tests throughout the week that you’re trying to study for.
Well, there’s a simple solution to this: set a goal or focus point for the day. There’s also a special system in your homework agenda I’d like to talk about when it comes to schoolwork.
The most important thing is to be specific and organize your corrections into groups. For example, every Tuesday you could focus on your port de bras, every Monday on your core and central muscle support system, every Thursday on your balance and weight placement, and every Friday on your presentation and artistry. It’s best to not categorize by step because these cannot be worked on during every combination – but rather aspects of your dancing that apply to all movements.
On the other side of that, with school work – you can focus on completing a certain assignment or really hone in on a certain test. We’ll talk more about priorities next, but it is important that you balance out your assignments so that you divide and conquer. I like to use my planner for this. All of my teachers give me the week’s homework on Monday, so I look at when each assignment is due and I plan out which sections of the assignment I’ll work on which days. I also do the same with tests – I plan out which days I will study for it to be properly prepared. When you divide out the assignments by days and make a plan for the week, you have a better perspective and you know that you are able to get everything done because you have planned it out in that way.
What are your priorities?
This is especially important in schoolwork. Let’s say you have an A in social studies and a B+ in science – maybe you don’t need to do all of that extra credit in social studies class so that you can focus on your exam coming up in science. Balance things out because it’s better to have consistent grades that shows proficiency in all subjects for a well-rounded student, rather than spiking grades and unevenness that creates a sense of uncertainty and inconsistency for colleges.
Also, seeing a B- on your grades might freak you out. It’s natural that when we see something that scares us, we immediately ignore it and try to find a way around completing it whole-heartedly. Obviously, that is not the best solution when it comes to schoolwork. You may be able to get away with it in the short-term, but when that exam comes you’re totally screwed. So, prioritize your subjects and keep your grades balanced both for success in the future and success in the present.
The “I have no time!” dilemma
This is something very common that I hear among dancers – “I just don’t have enough time to stretch and do extra homework and all of that stuff, even when I’m using a schedule.” Well, all of us are extremely busy – Nutcracker rehearsals until 10:00 pm every night, homework up to our ears, classes starting at 3:30 pm, etc, etc. The key to getting stuff done with the time you have is managing the time that you have efficiently and getting as much done as possible.
My first tip for this is to prioritize your weekends. Most dancers, unless performing, have every Sunday off. Again, unless you’re performing, you probably don’t have 24 hours of classes and rehearsals on Saturdays either. So, take that time to get everything done. If you have an assignment due next Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday – go ahead and get it done over the weekend, even if the teacher hasn’t assigned it yet. If you know you’re going to have a crazy week, I’m almost positive your teachers won’t mind if you ask for any assignments they could possibly give you early. So, always make sure that you make an effort to utilize your weekends so you aren’t jam packed during the week.
A good example of this strategy is myself – during Nutcracker tech weeks and other performance-heavy times, I do all of my newsletter for the next two to three weeks on the weekend before so that I don’t have to worry about them. I also schedule all of my blog posts ahead of time. That’s the best way to get things done.
Another solution to this is multitasking. You can get A LOT done while you’re stretching (In fact…I’m stretching right now as I’m writing this.) I love doing homework, reading, and writing blog posts in simple stretches such as half pigeon pose (that’s what I’m doing…my hips are SUPER TIGHT), the frog, or the middle splits. Static stretches are great to do when you’re warm – and the multitasking provides a distraction, therefore making you hold the stretch longer.
So, we’ve talked about the benefits of time management – which include increased efficiency, academic grades, ballet achievement, and free time. We’ve also talked about some solutions – including making schedules, prioritizing your tasks, organizing your schoolwork and planning out when you will complete it, setting goals and focus points, multitasking, and prioritizing your weekends.
I do hope that you put some of the strategies you’ve learned today in action to help your dancing and academics forever!
Thanks for reading! You can expect informational blog posts here on gouletballet.com every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
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