Back-to-school is a very busy time of the year. Students are meeting their teachers and classmates for the first time, they’re adjusting to their classes and coursework, and they are also discovering extracurricular activities they want to participate in.

Extracurricular activities are a great way to feel as part of something. Whether it’s joining an after-school club, band, sports team, or serving the community, adding an extracurricular activity can be a bit intimidating but rewarding. If you are looking for tips on how to balance extracurricular activities while excelling in school, you’ve come to the right place.

Below we’ve outlined four ways to balance extracurricular activities and school this fall.

1-Develop a Schedule

Having a schedule will be key to your time management. Create a daily, weekly, and/or monthly schedule with all your commitments including school assignments, events, activities, deadlines, etc. Having this visible on your calendar will help you know what’s on your plate and will prevent you from overbooking yourself. You will also be able to set reminders for your upcoming events and develop a healthy routine that works for you. The better you manage your time and follow your schedule, the more fun you will find in your extracurricular activities.

2-Set Your Priorities

Regardless of the length of your to-do list, remember that school comes first. Academics is a foundational part of your growth. As you review your deadlines, events, and due dates, always prioritize all the things related to school. These are commitments that come first as you aim to grow in your career path. Once you’ve prioritized school, you can then prioritize the rest of your activities in the order you see fit. Remember to make yourself a priority too. Self-care time is essential to recharge and be prepared for the next task at hand.

3-Be Selective

There are so many extracurricular activities to choose from. Be sure to review all your choices and pick the one(s) that interests you the most. Avoid committing to more than you can handle. Give yourself a few months to practice and master an extracurricular activity. If you see no progress or lack of interest, you are fine to try a different one. Do not be afraid to be selective as it requires time and energy to commit to something.

4-Ask for Help or Say ‘No’

The most important part of maintaining a balance between school and extracurricular activities is asking for help and knowing your limits. If you are overbooked or overwhelmed, it is okay to ask for assistance. If you are leading a project, delegate your tasks and check in for progress. You do not need to do everything yourself. Remember to put your health (mental and emotional) first. Get enough rest, recharge, and set your boundaries. This will always allow you to put your best work forward.

Balance is Key

Balancing school and extracurricular activities is no easy task, but a very rewarding one. Consider the four recommendations above. Adding an extracurricular activity to your schoolwork will help you manage your time wisely and improve your people skills. Be selective in your activities and don’t be afraid to set your boundaries. Being productive in and out of the classroom will make you a well-rounded individual! Good luck this fall and beyond.