Before I get started, I want to clarify something: I am no expert and I am not perfect. But what I’m about to tell you has truly changed my life in the last 8 months, and I hope you will find my experiences and advice useful for your own life.
We all have goals and ambitions in life, but we often find ourselves complaining that we don’t have enough time to achieve all of them. Well, who actually ever has enough time? According to a national survey conducted by Gallup, about 48% of Americans say that they don’t have enough time to do the things they want to do. Between Honors classes, homework, work life, and other extracurricular activities, students often find the days just slipping right past them, not giving them time to socialize, hang out with friends, or even just sit back and relax.
If you’re feeling that way right now, trust me, you’re not alone. With finals just around the corner and wrapping up coursework for the semester, it’s common to feel that “mid-semester slump” and get caught up in the spiral of wondering if you should just quit. But remind yourself that you can do it.
I’m not going to lie: within the first week of the spring semester, I was overwhelmed. On top of my credit overload, I, for some reason, decided to take three sciences while working a part-time job and a research assistantship. Now, as crazy as it might sound, I still have time to relax, hang out with my friends, go visit my family back home in PA, and maintain my grades (somewhat, haha). So, the million-dollar question is: how? How do I have time to do all of those things and still have “left-over” time to chill?
The answer: proper planning and preparation. The 3 “Ps” to your success. The key to finding free time is to make that time. What I mean is that you need to carve out blocks of time in your day to focus on your work efficiently and set aside time to decompress.
One strategy that works really well for me is to schedule out all of my assignments, events, and exams at the beginning of the week along with their respective due dates. Then, I go back and fill in the times for when I want to actually work on those tasks in order to get them submitted on time. The last step is to take all the remaining chunks of time for yourself.
You’re probably thinking, Shri, after I schedule all those things, I don’t have any more time left in my day. If that’s the case, then something is wrong; either you’re underestimating your potential to complete your work within a given time frame or you’re packing way too many things in one day that don’t all have to be done that day. When you’re doing this, you have to be really honest and realistic with yourself–that’s the only way this strategy is actually going to work.
At first, it might feel like you’re overdoing it by trying to plan every detail out, but trust me, it works. As funny as it may sound, I plan everything–from when I should eat my meals, or hang out with my roommates, and even Facetime my family. Everything that I want to do has a specific slot in my day, and it acts like a checklist for me so that I don’t miss anything. And by doing this, I not only get my tasks done, but I also have a sense of accomplishment.
So try the 3Ps: proper planning and preparation. And just know that every new lifestyle change that we make takes time before we see the results. We just have to be patient and not give up. It’s the satisfaction and contentment that you achieved something today that helps you keep going tomorrow.