Seeking Solace

Time doesn’t have to be a scarce resource, I just need to be better at planning

More stories from Julia Van Allen

Seeking Solace
May 13, 2019

“I don’t have enough time.”

“I’m running out of time.”

Phrases like these and so many others all depict time as a precious, concrete resource that is both a hot commodity and an elusive mystery. If I had to count how many times a day I’ve heard a friend say one of these phrases, I would quickly lose count.

As a college student, I’ve had to acknowledge that my time isn’t something just for me. I need time for classes, homework, internships and work, not to mention extracurricular activities. What’s left of the 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year feels like it isn’t nearly enough to get it all done.

Time management was something I had to learn upon entering this university.

In high school, the regimented schedules that dominated the daytime were enough to keep me on track, but college is a totally different ballgame. What I do with the time I’m not in class or at work is up for grabs for the millions of other tasks and activities that seem to pile up, especially around this time of year.

Recently, I’ve found myself worrying about not having enough time to get everything done. With papers and final projects coming up, I feel like there’s just no way to get it all done without running myself into the ground.

Time management strategies sound foreign to me, like things that busy professionals or “real adults” have to do in order to keep their lives on track. It was only when I found myself balancing what felt like a million different tasks and assignments that I realized I needed to develop some good time management habits and get my life in order.

First, I had to decide what tasks needed to get done and in what order to do them, figuring out if they were urgent or important.

Urgent matters are those which are time-sensitive and demand immediate attention. Important tasks are those which matter and would have repercussions if they weren’t done. If not, those would be moved to the end of the checklist.

Second, I needed to utilize what time I had left after work and classes to figure out the best opportunities I had in my regular schedule to plan out days of productivity.

This semester, Mondays and Fridays are filled with work and homework. I only go to campus when I need to and I try to stick to a regimented schedule of doing X amount of things before I distract myself with a Netflix documentary or some other entertainment.

Third, I needed to set boundaries for myself.

Last year, at around this time, my roommate and I began calling our respective bedrooms “the zone of production,” where we would spend hours working on final projects and papers uninterrupted before being able to spend time doing other things.

As stir-crazy as I became during those long days of working on papers when I could have been going on adventures out in the sun, I needed to get my work done before I could do what I wanted to in good conscience.

I won’t pretend I stick to a strict study schedule all day, every day.

I’m human, I make mistakes and sometimes I would rather watch “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” than work on a paper, but what matters the most is keeping myself accountable so I can keep chipping away at the mountain of work in front of me.

Van Allen can be reached at [email protected].