It is incredibly difficult to say no when you are given an opportunity. You want to do everything because you never know when you’ll get to have such an opportunity again. However, the more you say yes, the more you may feel yourself go slightly crazy as every door opens letting a different hurricane in. I performed an experiment for myself for a few months, limiting my “yes’s.” In doing so, I learned that closing certain doors tames the hurricane.
Dancers constantly have to deal with the struggle that is time management. Between homework, classes, rehearsals, being a teenager, and other ailments, it can sometimes become too much. It is imperative that we choose our battles wisely. I have found a system that works for me, but it is different for everyone. Some people can innately take on a lot more than others, but there are ways to manage yourself better to be able to take on more.
First of all, if you don’t already have some kind of planner to track your schedule, GET ONE! Having a singular place where all of your important dates and deadlines is can be incredibly helpful to manage your time better. I personally have found that using a bullet journal as a planner has helped me be the most successful. It allows me to format planning in a way that works for me, and setting up my month has become a relaxing way to self care. Whatever way you decide works best for you, make sure that you are keeping yourself accountable for your own schedule. No one wants to be the one who constantly has to ask what and when things are happening. You will look so much more put together even just having something that you can reference for information.
Now that you know your own schedule, it is easier to manage what you can and can not take on. Always leave enough brain space for you to be able to do the things that are required of you such as homework and regular dance classes. From there, you can see if you can add extras like doing privates, choreographing, or assisting other classes. It takes some skill to really know yourself and balance what you can handle. If you are already having trouble getting all your homework done and getting to your required classes, then maybe going out to optional conventions every weekend isn’t the right choice for you. If you feel like you aren’t challenged by what is merely required, then it may be time to see what you can add to stimulate yourself. I have school schedule that allows me to add in assisting and choreographing, but not everyone gets so lucky. It make take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you. You can tell a schedule is not right for you if you start experiencing burnout. It is at this point you may want to start limiting what you say “yes” to, recoup and figure out what is no longer worth your energy or isn’t fueling your soul.
No matter how much you add to your schedule, you have to find time to take care of your soul. Think of it this way: we have to stop the car for gas before we stop completely in the middle of a highway unexpectedly. We dread going to get gas, even though the reality is it can take just five minutes to get gas which lasts you a week. You want to fuel up when you have a quarter tank left instead of running on empty because it could damage your car. Why don’t we do the same for ourselves? We live in a white-knuckle society where we force ourselves to “just get through it” instead of actually taking a second to just lay on the floor and stare at the wall so our brain can take a break. You don’t even have to take a whole day! A five minute break can go a long way. Always make sure your busy schedule puts self care on the to-do list.