5 Ways I Crush Schedules in Medical School

The dorsal fin shot up behind me in the crystal waters off the California coast, cruising toward my surfboard at an ominous rate…. Well I haven’t actually been surfing off the coast of Cali, but sometimes I think my heart feels like an inevitable shark attack when I am behind and overwhelmed. Miss one assignment, don’t have supplies for packing a lunch, forgot to call mom this week, didn’t print something for the latest church project, the list of things that can overwhelm me is rather, overwhelming.

Shark Dorsal Fin
Dorsal Fins might stimulate a little more panic than being behind, but still…

Below are 5 ways I, by grace alone, try to stay somewhat on top of my game so I can be a doctor someday. Treating people sounds much nicer than existing as an overwhelmed rando. Tell me what you like from the list and what helps you!

5 Ways To Crush A Schedule Infographic

Meal Plan:
This one is an easy addition to your week if you don’t already prep your food. It takes 15 minutes or less, allows you to choose healthy foods before you are tired and only want to binge eat frozen pizza, and the mother load of all bonuses – you only have to make 1 trip to the store a week. Time is our most precious commodity and going to the grocery store regularly is not how I like to spend mine. I usually allow for a little flexibility in the plan for unexpected left overs or spontaneity (free lunch at school anyone?) And yes, Pinterest boards are awesome for this.

Daily Crush Lists
So I could call it a To-Do list but it is soooo much more motivating to call it a To-Crush list. It can be as short or long as you need it to be – the goal is simply to crush into completeness everything contained in it. Mine changes every day in length and content; typically the most important things go on top. Some days it goes in my journal, some days it goes on a Post -it note, some days it’s in my phone. The central concept is to get your requirements down where you can refer back to them and enjoy crossing them off when you finish. The crossing off part is fun – don’t skip it! It helps with memory gaps, time management, and provides a sense of accomplishment. Juggling different roles can be a headache, but having what you need for each party you are working with makes the achievement process much more streamlined.

Family Calendar
Most of us have a calendar and I have used one for years. Med school’s quick sand environment was wreaking havoc with syncing Tyler’s and my schedules though. Solution? Shared google calendar. By making a shared gmail we can sync calendars together for events and still have our separate gmail calendars too. For instance, if he has a lunch meeting this Tuesday an and I have a surprise party for his birthday that night, I can see the lunch meeting in one color on the google page and the surprise party (that he can’t see) in a different color. So. much. better.

Social Schedule
Momma always said if you didn’t put it on the calendar it wasn’t going to happen. And this sad little statement is true. So schedule date night, time to call your mom, and the time when you just want to have a cup of coffee and not be disturbed. If you don’t set out to make time for everything it will get shoved to the side. Want to hang our with friends before an exam? Catch up with that one friend that you each keep promising to see? Schedule it!

Prioritize Sleep
This one actually doesn’t have to do with scheduling. Most of us forget that if we short-change ourselves on rest we do not “get ahead”. Trying to cut corners on our bodies’ needs does not make us more efficient people. It makes us poor performing zombies with bad hair days.
In college I was always told I would get way less sleep in medical school – I knew this wasn’t the case because I wasn’t going to pass medical school on less sleep. God has given me so much time in a day and I have to make the best of it. There are plenty of other things that can be cut back before the need to cut sleep even arises too (hello social media, un-efficient study, and poor time management). Your brain needs sleep to stay healthy. Twenty years of sleep deprivation will have your brain on its knees begging for dementia. Don’t do it. Cut your brain some slack and sleep the poor organ.


*disclaimer here before a parent gets hold of me, I realize sleep deprivation happens as a parent sometimes (or most of the time) but tiny hoomans are way less in your control than most other schedule variables*

Schedules are crazy, life is crazy, and we have so many God-given opportunities to accomplish things. Our accomplishments can’t come from a disorganized life that always runs at top speed though. There is a time for everything when we bother making time for it. Scheduling helps us crush our schedules so we don’t have to crush our dreams. 🙂

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