The second installment of Bella’s blog covers the college dilemma of being productive vs. being busy. Have you ever equated being busy with being important? Do you find yourself scrolling through your phone to “relax” only to find you are more stressed because you’ve wasted time? Read on!
As a college student, there is always something to do. While activities range from obligations (classes, homework, practice) to optional (clubs, events, social time with friends), the stress of trying to do it all can be incredibly stressful. Even with this pressure, we all have sat on our phones for hours ignoring/avoiding it all. Laying down feels nice, until you snap into reality and stay up until 3 am writing the rest of that essay from earlier. Having a plan, specific breaks, and using your whole day will lift your motivation more and more as you build these habits. It’s important to find what works best for you, and to constantly stick with it.
Plan Plan Plan
It’s unrealistic to plan every detail of every day, especially since we can’t predict exactly what will happen. With that being said, you can plan a broad schedule everyday. Quoting a reading from the great First Year Experience class, Tia Fuller would plan her next day agenda 10 minutes before bed. This agenda can look something like a list of when to wake up, what times to do homework, what times to take breaks, and when to sleep. Adding some laundry or cleaning is a great way to keep up with your personal life. Be aware of how efficiently you can do certain tasks, and prepare accordingly throughout the week to have a successful assignment or space to live.
Eating and sleeping should be first on your list of priorities. If you don’t receive these restorative energy boosters, you’ll never accomplish what you need to do, or at least well. We all see relaxing differently, but there are clear differences between having a true relaxing moment between projects versus allowing yourself to be distracted from such assignments. While some see being on their phone as relaxing, don’t use it to search on social media for longer than 10 minutes as a break, otherwise it’s a complete distraction. Finding new ways to let your mind breathe between frustrating or time consuming tasks is the best way to go. Taking ten deep breaths, going for a 10 minute walk on our beautiful campus (without your phone), or doing 10 reps of stretching can really be the break your brain needs.
Busy = Important
This heading is absolutely FALSE. Being so busy you can’t breath or sleep 7-8 hours a night does not make you an important person. When discussing this topic with Brigid Avery , she made a great point of how being busy is not a feeling or emotion. When asked “How are you doing?”, one might respond, “Overwhelmed!” or “Stressed!”. Many times though, we hear “I’m so busy”. But, being busy is an action! Identify what you’re really feeling. Saying it out loud may make you realize that you need to take time to relax and have time to yourself throughout the day.
Working and Living Differs
Your job or assignments isn’t who you are. Being a major in elementary education doesn’t mean you’re constantly speaking about children and what they need to learn. That’s why a work – life balance is essential to staying physically and mentally healthy. Grouping all of your daily errands together to get done at once is a great way to save your time and hassle from driving at all times of the day. Keep yourself and your room or apartment clean. Being and feeling clean reduces anxiety and depression, allowing yourself to get more done throughout the day. Find your rhythm in life! Find what times of the day you are willing to clean, work, or want to relax most.
Bella Bressler is a first year AQ student from Sturgis, Michigan. She enjoys being productive, fresh air, and laundry (not really).