What University Taught Me: Time Management

Welcome to a brand spanking new series! (Which, by the way, why is the phrase called spanking new anyway? *googles etymology* Apparently spanking in the 1660’s meant ‘very big or fine’ usually in reference to horses…hm~) My friend Theo suggested doing a series to force myself to write more. As you guys have probably noticed, I haven’t been diligent in my posting. It’s not because I’m too busy or whatnot, it’s because during my spare time instead of blogging to improving my writing, I’m mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or surfing YouTube. And I’m pretty sure we can unanimously agree how effective those activities are…

Therefore, here I am about to share with the world wide web my pearls of wisdom. These are lessons that I’ve thought about for a while and keep on slapping me in the face when I forget them.

As of now, I have four instalments planned. There might be a fifth one if I discover another lesson university taught me, but for now please anticipate four parts of this series! And, whoa, this is a cool coincidence but since today’s March 1st, I guess this will be my month long series heuheuheu~ I will be posting weekly some time during the weekend, so please look forward to my posts!

And now, to the first *and perhaps most important* lesson college has taught me:

TIME MANAGEMENT

Let’s all take a moment to collectively shudder. Geez, the concept by itself is a little intimidating, no? I mean, fundamentally it seems simple; just divide and conquer the day, right? But then things like mini friend emergencies, spontaneous reunions, and other unexpected things happen along the way and then BAM, procrastination happens and it’s 10pm and you have a pile of homework and studying to do.

*I’ve split up my thoughts on time management into chunks so it’s easier to read and you can scan it quickly to determine if you want to read on or not :P. (hint: please do~)*

UNEXPECTED EVENTS

I’ve developed a philosophy to handle the spontaneous events. Whether it’s good or bad, I tend to pause my schedule/prolong it to hear out a friend, chat with someone I haven’t seen in a while, or partake in an interesting conversation. I do acknowledge that as I do other activities, I lose time dedicated to homework or studying but I don’t think that my time was wasted. Perhaps that conversation had to happen or that friend just really needed a listening ear. If so, I want to help them the best I can, even if that comes at the cost of my personal time. Obviously, this can result in me staying up late longer, but I believe in the end it’s worth it. I’ve always believed that if someone has to sacrifice something, I should because I can take it and I can make up for it.

LATE NIGHTS

But then again there are times when I stay up simply because I got distracted by the wonders of the Internet (*cough, Buzzfeed, cough*). Or times when my brain has completely given up on me. From here, there are two different diagnoses of my current state:

1) I’m being flat out lazy. To cure this, I just have to be a man (*cue the Mulan song*) and just do it. And then my brain wakes up again and I’m fine.

2) I’m sleep deprived. To cure this, I need to take a nap. But this option is a bit trickier to handle. I used to believe that when I took a nap, I’d immediately stay up later, but this friends is not true. Sleep is like a bank, in that you need to put enough deposits to make it through the day. If you didn’t put in enough, you have to take a loan (aka adrenaline). And then if you run out of the loan, well…you’re done for. In other words, not sleeping enough piles up. If you sleep less than eight hours each weekday, that means that in total you’re lacking five hours of sleep. And I’ve felt the effect of this phenomenon a lot more this semester.

The good thing is, though, I finish at 11:30 on Friday so if I do stay up late, I can catch up on Friday. But still, it’s better to sleep enough during the weekday so I don’t have to drink coffee in the morning to make it through the day.

IMPROVING?

However, I believe there is a way to improve! Namely, getting everything done as soon as possible. Now I’m not saying to immediately crank out that essay due in three weeks as soon as you get it, but for the little things, just do them. Things like a prelab or mini reading quiz. The faster they’re out of the way, the more you can focus your attention on the bigger things like that essay or long math homework.

For me, I have a two mini reading quizzes and a prelab every week. They take less time, so I try to finish them as soon as they’re released. On top of these, I also have a big chem, physics, and programming homework due every Friday as well so by getting the mini assignments out of the way, I can dedicate more of my time to the bigger assignments.

And for the bigger assignments, it’s also a huge help to split them into bite-size pieces rather than trying to finish them in one sitting. Trust me. It’s not pretty when it happens and you end up wanting to travel back in time just to slap your past self for procrastinating.

CONCLUSION

Time management is hard, but it’s possible. And it definitely won’t be perfected overnight. I mean, geez, so many times I was like “I’m going to be so good today and get ____ and ______ done before this and …” only to end up finishing neither. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t get better.

Cause there’s always gonna be another mountain, I’m always gonna make it move...Okay, sorry for the random Hannah Montana reference, but actually yes, time management is a climb and one day I’m going to reach the end (or at least a higher peak).

///

Don’t forget to check back next weekend for my next instalment about money! Thanks for reading, and feedback is always appreciated~ 🙂

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