Just got hired for a Co‐op position and don’t want to give up your current part-time job? Holding an important leadership role that requires a lot of commitment? If this sounds like you and you’re wondering if you can manage all of those responsibilities at the same time, you’ll need to read on. When I got accepted for my co-op application to become the Communications and Event Assistant for the Faculty of Communications, Art and Technology (FCAT) at SFU, I was working part-time at a car dealership on the weekends, and chairing for a student-led social media case competition called Platform. With all roles being equally important and demanding, I decided to take on the challenge. Here are a few tips I learned after surviving the ups and downs, a few nervous-breakdowns, and multiple sleepless nights.
1. Plan (WAY) ahead of time
If you are “planning” to let things naturally unfold with no idea of how you will use your time, think again! With so many roles on your plate, you have to sit down and plan a realistic time schedule before you start your Co-op work term. After you start your Co‐op job, you will only get busier as weeks go by. Before things can get messy, plan how you will use your daily time to take care of priorities ‐ this refers to work, but also family and friends.
2. It’s not crazy to set deadlines for the smallest things
Once you know you have something to complete, set a deadline even if it’s a small or easy task. You can put aside small things, but after some time, they can snowball into something bigger. Setting deadlines is always effective for cutting large projects into smaller chunks. And for each deadline you meet, you will gain a sense of accomplishment.
3. No phone means less distraction
Like every millennial, including me, you might be attached to your phone. To increase productivity at work or even at home, I learned to set my phone on silent, put it away in my bag or at least far enough so I couldn’t see it nor reach it. Although you might work on your laptop/computer, and it can be a distraction too, at least you’re not wasting time checking Facebook.
4. Value Me-time
If you are handling several jobs, it’s safe to assume you’re seeing people every single day. Sometimes, this means you don’t feel like meeting up with friends in your free time. In most cases, your friends will understand if you need to call off a date and spend some time alone. You are not neglecting your friends but simply putting your health first, and giving yourself a chance to recharge, whether it’s mentally or physically.
5. Set a bedtime and stick with it
Usually, insomnia is the result of a busy mind. If you’re thinking about work before bed, you are most likely going to think about it in bed. Set and maintain a consistent sleeping pattern. Your body will eventually get used to the new sleeping period, and will keep you from staying up late.
Working for three (or more!) jobs simultaneously is definitely stressful, there’s no doubt, but it will be memorable and worthwhile. In my Co-op role at FCAT, I was the sole organizer of the faculty’s annual undergraduate conference. I had the invaluable chance to try new things such as marketing, seeking sponsorships, creating event logistics, and coordinating a group of volunteers. This experience had also helped me gain the required knowledge and connections for future roles such as the FCAT Representative for SFSS. After completing my role at FCAT and Platform, I will move on to become the 2017‐2018 FCAT Representative. As challenging as it sounds, I know I’ll be able to stay healthy and productive with the important survival tips I learned from this Co-op term.