Time is an illusive concept at the best of times, sometimes it passes too quickly and other times we cannot wish it away fast enough. Something I have learnt is that time should be made the most of, and as a result of this, several people have referred to me as super woman because of all the hours I seemingly squeeze out of the day. But I’ll let you into a secret… I am not wonder woman and I don’t have any super powers (damn), I just make every minute count.
I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London with an Honours Degree in History. This full-time degree took 3 years to achieve and although I narrowly missed a First, I gained a high 2:1 alongside training and competing as a Dressage rider.
I have ridden since I was a child and took up Dressage seriously at the age of 14, working until I was good enough to take on my current horse from a baby to bring on with the help of my trainer. Vince has certainly been a challenge and is not a straightforward ride, which has resulted in many highs and lows over the past 6 years, but the reward is that my riding has drastically improved. Since I have been at university, Vince and I have represented the East of England team multiple times, been selected for Young Rider High Performance training schemes, ridden and a national level individually and represented England on the Under 25 team.
Dressage training can be considered a full-time occupation and demands a huge amount of dedication, but I did not even think for a second about dropping it in order to move to London and go to university. But there is no big secret to how I balance Dressage and studying. My trick is simply: Time Management.
I live in London 5 nights a week where I study/work, and then 2 nights a week I drive out to North Essex where I train in the evening and stay with my family overnight before training in the morning and driving back to London. This provides me with 4 training sessions a week. To make a 5th session I day trip out from London and back again on a free day once a week, then my trainer rides Vince once a week and he has one day off. Taadaa!
Sounds simple? Not necessarily, diary management is key! I have to know about competition dates, lectures, deadlines, training sessions and exams in advance and work around them accordingly. As a result I have never missed a deadline or competition! But the way I see it, if you are determined to make something work, then you will make it so.
I will never give up my riding and have dreams of riding for my country one day.
My top tips for time management:
- Write everything down – Keep a diary with everything noted
- Advanced planning – Look ahead at what is coming up and plan accordingly
- Prioritize – Decide what can and can’t wait
- Have a back up plan – Sometimes things don’t work out, but keep calm and try again
- Stay focussed – Create goals to keep you motivated
- Get Enough Sleep! – You are not a super hero! But to keep everyone believing that you are, get enough sleep to stay refreshed and on the ball.
- Remember, Beyoncé only has 24 hours in a day too – She’s only human, but look at all that she can achieve…