Last week, I was finally pummeled by the realization that we only have four weeks of school and so many assignments to finish within that short time frame. I decided I would tackle as much as possible, jumping in the arena with everything I had to do at once–smacking a paper here, shoving a reading there, stepping on the toes of assorted homework.
In the end, I was collapsed on the floor surrounded by the causes of my stress–and they were barely wounded.
Why do we do this? We think attacking everything at once will help us get done faster and break through to the other side of stress, but we exhaust ourselves until we’re sapped of strength.
Instead, wouldn’t it be far more effective to step into the arena with one issue at time? When that’s done, we take breaks, rehydrate ourselves, sleep. Only then will we be ready for the next thing.
It may seem like we don’t have time for rest, but we do. How often do we half-heartedly work on a paper while also trying to socialize or “rest”? We are barely productive and only feel more drained and incapable and guilty and stressed. (Or is this just me???)
No solution is one-size-fits-all. We all have different schedules. But I want to suggest something that has helped me.
First, do something you love every day–or think about something you love, or remind yourself of something you love, or talk to someone you love. Take a moment to remember that you are MORE than a student drilling out assignments. You are here because you want to be here. You are reaching a greater goal. But you are you, and, believe it or not, your health and relationships are more important than your grades.
Second, schedule time where you will not work on homework. It’s okay to do this! For instance, I have decided that I will wait at least an hour every morning before opening up my laptop or any books. Then when I do work, I will take a break every hour to eat, take a walk, stretch, etc. I will get as much done as I can, then I will be done with enough time to relax with my family before bed.
Again, this schedule may not work for you. On days when I have classes, this schedule doesn’t even work for me. The idea is to say no to homework and yes to you during some point of every day. Think about your homework as your job. Once you’re home, you’re home. No checking email. No answering phone calls. Just be present. You will feel more satisfied with the work you got done and more energized when you come back to it.
There is no shame in taking time for yourself and others. Let’s make this four weeks about more than just getting things done. Let’s enjoy ourselves, relax, and–hopefully–get the most out of the work we do.