New environments bring a world of adventures. And figuring out how to juggle competing priorities in a new environment often presents a challenge. In my experience since moving to Tampa to work with the wonderful women of Lambda Theta, I’ve been presented with these challenges. Figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t is a process, so take it one step at a time. Today I’ll share with you three steps that I’ve used to help identify how to best juggle my time here in Tampa.
First things first: Physically – How do you decide what opportunities to make a commitment to?
In a new place, you’re often presented with a variety of new places to explore, things to do, and people to meet. But there never seems to be enough time in the day to complete it all. So you have to pick and choose. When evaluating these options, it helps to consider a few things first:
- What will you enjoy most? There is likely some element of enjoyment in most, if not all, of the opportunities that are presented. However, there is also likely one that will get you more excited than the others. Capitalize on the opportunity that captures your interest most. If you have limited time, you want to spend time physically participating in the activity that will be the most beneficial for you personally.
- Who will you participate in these activities with? The people you are with often make the experience you are participating in even more meaningful. For example, I am more likely to enjoy a quick trip to find the Tampa mural for a photo-op (even though it was dark by the time we found it, but that is a story for another day…) with a fellow LC friend and roommate than doing something else on my own. So, I made the time to prioritize this opportunity because it was an activity with someone that I would enjoy spending time with.
Thinking about these two things, among others, is a great start to help you figure out which opportunity you should commit yourself to when presented with many options and/or limited time! Also, it’s important to keep in mind that it is okay to say no. Sometimes, you just can’t squeeze it in, and that is OK, too. It’s all about balance.
Secondly: Intellectually – How do you connect opportunities to one another for a collective purpose?
When you’re identifying which opportunities are best for you to partake in, think about how they connect to one another. With my example above, not only was I exploring Tampa and my new environment, but I was building memories and relationships with a friend and sister. This activity alone served many purposes and collectively had a positive impact on my adjustment to my new environment. The same can be said for other opportunities you may be presented with. Think about the greater purpose, or the greater goal of how that activity connects to something else you are doing or something else you are passionate about. Ideally, the “right” opportunity will be the one that fits your purpose. Or, it might be the one that connects easily to another opportunity that is upcoming. Together these experiences help you juggle that new environment and maximize your opportunities.
Finally: Emotionally – How do you juggle all of your opportunities and time for you?
Arguably the most important of these three is the emotional impact of these opportunities and how you juggle them in comparison with time you need to take for yourself! This is an area I personally struggle with most, even though I would consider it to be the most important area of juggling competing priorities… which is proof that it’s a constant a work in progress. How do you make time each day for yourself? It’s important to acknowledge that for many, this is not easy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you are doing and make excuses for that 30 minutes you originally set aside to go on a run, or the hour you wanted to set aside to call your best friend who lives five states away. Making excuses is the easy part; the hard part is to not let that excuse dictate your ability to make time for yourself. Whether it’s 30 minutes, an hour, or even only ten minutes, making time for you to emotionally regroup is important. One way that I am working on this is to look at my calendar at the start of each week, and pick a small amount of time each day to set aside for me. Whether I watch a show on Netflix, pick up my book, go to the gym, call a friend, or even just take a walk through Target, that time is important. It helps you to refocus and juggle all of your other responsibilities just a little easier because taking time for yourself helps with your own productivity.
These three tips are just a few ways that I have found to be helpful as I settle in Tampa and figure out my new normal in a brand new city. Remember, taking time to find balance in the priorities that are important to you will help make your adjustment to a new environment just a little easier, one step at a time.