Do as you do, not as you think
Quick! If I asked you about your priorities, what would you say? As a student, your first answer might be studying. Alright, but what else? Do you spend your time with friends or alone? Do you hit the gym, or catch up on Netflix? Consciously or not, we make time-related decisions every day. So, how do you want to spend today? The real question is: how do you spend it?
I ask this because I found that what I thought I prioritized was actually not the case. I was frustrated day after day during an internship I had, which, including school work and travel commitments, had me out and time-bound from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. I thought I needed some time to watch TV and relax, but between my 11-hour work day, my workouts after that, meals and sleep, I never got the chance.
It took a meltdown for me to realize something. I thought I prioritized down time, I thought I needed it, but I actually didn’t. I always did my workout, I always got a minimum of eight hours of sleep, and I always made time for family. Those were my priorities, I just never realized it. After this revelation, I still felt frustrated, but at a manageable level.
I tell you this because I know we have all felt this way, like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Here is a great exercise to try and help alleviate that feeling of frustration: take a look at what you do every day after class, time yourself and record it if necessary. Just look at what you actually do. That’s it. You’ll find that by looking at this timesheet of your day, you have reoccurring things come up that you make time for, regardless of whether or not your schedule permits it. Those are your actual priorities. Don’t get frustrated by your choices, just look at your time spread and make changes if desired.
The beauty of this exercise is that it applies to other self-help tasks. Feel like your bank account is always empty? Look at your bank or credit card statement and see where your money goes and make conscious choices to remedy your spending. Want to pick up a new skill? Look at your daily timesheet and see if and where you can cut some engagements shorter and make time.
So, what are you going to do now?
Feature graphic by @spooky_soda