My previous blog discussed how I managed to stay productive while juggling my academic workload and a part-time job at Harrods. Consequently, I was able to remain on top of things by meticulously, ordering my daily tasks using the quadrant technique. Despite my best efforts to balance my employment with my academic obligations, I felt extremely overwhelmed at the start of Michaelmas Term. Due to this, I made the difficult decision to terminate my contract with Harrods in February 2021. Still, I thought I’d share a glimpse into my everyday routine, including my work-life balance, gym habits, and LSE social life.
My Daily Routine
Regarding my morning routine, I would usually wake up before my work started at Harrods to go to the gym at 4.30am. I train roughly 5-6 times a week with a push-pull-legs split; however, this wasn’t feasible since the COVID lockdown restrictions. As a result, I had to perform home workouts, which, if you’re a gym rat like me, was far from ideal. After a one-hour workout, I’d stop by Pret a Manger for a quick bite to eat and a drink: tracking my macros on the go! *I did, in fact, have to use my drink subscription after forgetting to cancel the free one-month subscription. But, hey, that’s a story for another time*. As my shift start times varied from 8:30am or 10am, I would often try to watch at least one lecture after a quick shower to help me consolidate any new knowledge for that week.
Every shift began with a daily briefing, which provided advisors with all of the knowledge we required to fulfil our duties. During this time, we may also be required to perform some training. *Fun. I know, but it had to be done.* I’d then check my work emails, make my phone line available, and set to work dealing with clients: processing online orders, passing along compliments/praises, and logging any complaints we might get. Typically, I had my lunch break after the first half of my shift, which generally consisted of a source of protein, such as fish, chicken, or lamb, with some greens and a carbohydrate. To avoid the inconvenience of cooking in between my breaks, I usually prepared my lunch the night before. This way, I’d be able to make the most of my break. Though, on days when I was lazy or time was constrained, I would opt for a meal deal or a takeaway instead.
I’d finish my Quadrant 1 (Urgent & Important) tasks during my second break at Harrods. This might include whatever administrative work I have to complete. For example, I might schedule an office hour with my lecturers or send follow-up emails to my seminar teachers to inquire about something I didn’t comprehend in my readings. After the final part of my shift, I would finish around 5pm or 7pm, which is when I would try to do the remaining of my quadrants’ tasks and prioritise for my next day. After a long day at work, I usually spent my evenings in my Halls catching up and chilling with my friends, and having dinner. Fortunately, the accommodation I resided in, Carr-Saunders Hall, was catered: so I rarely had to cook, which was really convenient.
Because I was usually a bit overwhelmed if I attempted to write them after a full day at work, I spent my days off drafting my formative and summative essays. These were also the days when I went out with my friends or threw a flat party (in accordance with the COVID-19 restrictions).
Rejoining Harrods and my reflections…
Let’s fast forward to the present: I’ve finally turned in those essays that were causing me unnecessary stress, and I’ve also signed a new summer contract with Harrods! I was slightly apprehensive at first as to whether or not they’d take me back, as finding work in a pandemic has been stressful, to say the least. However, now that I am returning, I’m looking forward to reuniting with my team, and of course, the discount is a nice bonus too!
At the end of the day, if juggling a part-time job with your academic obligations is proving difficult, try to plan your day and create a routine. It’s easier said than done, but sticking to a schedule that’s tailored to your needs can make everything much more manageable. You can also leave the role if you fear you are struggling to handle it. Your professional reputation, as well as your academic achievement, are the last things you want to be jeopardised.
All in all, I’ve come to realise that, whether it’s scholastic or work commitments, you must constantly know where your priorities lie: cherry-picking what is most important to you!