Time for … time.

Right now, I’m working on organizing a schedule and calendar for the upcoming semester. Last year, I felt a bit, shall we say, pressed for time as I tried to (frantically) get homework done, work at the piano, write the required papers, write the things I wanted to write, and study for ever-approaching deadlines. It was quite the tragedy: a student forgotten (cue violins) as she labored away until eleven at night, only to rise at five (5 A.M.!) the next morning. And earn two Ds before lunchtime.

Looking back, though, there were a few, um, details. Part of the scheduling problem lay in the un-scheduled Internet breaks that occurred periodically throughout study sessions. I don’t remember exactly what I was doing during each and every hiatus, but it wasn’t academic. I wasn’t taking an hour each time, mind you. I would check my email, read some blogs, and browse some videos for about ten minutes– WAAAAY too often.

It didn’t make me fail any classes. But I didn’t do as well as I could have. If two-thirds of those breaks had been spent studying, I would have done better on tests. If I had finished my homework sooner in the evening, I could have done the things I actually felt like doing. If I had waited until homework was done before I started hanging out, I would have had time to invite friends over. Free time is like candy: if you eat it all yourself, you have none left to share. And if you take too much, it’s not really good any more.

So, as I said at the beginning, I’m looking for some good ways to manage my time more effectively this year. There are a few things I’ve learned in the last few years of high school that will help: Get all the materials together before you start a project. Keep notebooks organized. Write down the teacher’s exact words about deadlines. You never have time not to do Bible study. Spending a full hour with God in the morning opens up time you didn’t know you had. An object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Get up as early as you possibly can — it only feels bad for the first thirty seconds, then you’re SO glad to be up. Listen to energetic music, but dance music tends to, uh, lend itself to more energy than necessary. (And it’s better if the music doesn’t have lyrics. Sorry.) If you remember something you want to Google, write it down and don’t do it now. Procrastination causes unnecessary stress because the project usually isn’t quite as bad as you expected it to be. They don’t call it study hall for nothing. Take some breaks (but not too many), and make sure those breaks include human contact. Teachers don’t respect Saturdays — get over it. If the material seems pointless, just keep reminding yourself that people like smart spouses. (It’s called “investing in your future.”)  Never fear studying on Friday nights. (That’s what Smarties do while Dum-Dum Pops are partying.) When there’s too much to do, just keep calm and carry on. And my favorite of all …

Time is a bite-sized word for life.

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One thought on “Time for … time.

  1. Right there with you. Time management has always been a struggle for me too. Allowing myself to get distracted, being a “magic thinker” as my pastor calls it (scheduling a 30min slot for something that in reality takes an hour to do, thinking “It’ll only take a minute,” etc.), not going to bed early enough, allowing myself to “do nothing” (the unproductive, fruitless type of “doing nothing”), forgetting the distinction between “spending time” and “wasting time,” etc.

    I really like the lessons you’ve extracted from your experiences in time management (and mis-management…). So true about getting up as early as possible, it’s a lot easier to get cracking at 5 in the morning than it is at 11:30am (as strange as that sounds…). And it is more important than we’ll ever know to spend decent time with God daily, especially at the start of each day.

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