Finding the balance. How do you manage?
Between college and home (with almost five hours consumed by my weekly commute every weekend), life can be hectic. Add the fact that I have classes, tutoring and the newspaper to occupy my time at college and family to visit and errands to complete at home, and sometimes it seems that life never stops ( . . . probably because it doesn’t). This is when prioritizing is important. Mary Kay believed that women should prioritize according to God, family and career. Organization is also key.
I write assignments two weeks out on Post-It notes and stick them on my desk. That way, I don’t waste time flipping through my planner for a specific assignment. I also mark key tasks (e-mailing a tutee, calling Shades of Green to make a reservation . . . which I still have to do!) on a Post-It in my planner. If I think I’ll forget an appointment, I add it to my BlackBerry calendar or set an alarm for it as a task.
To spend time with God, I wake up around 7:15. My roommates are still asleep, and that extra time before they wake up is spent praying and reading my devotional. The apartment is quiet and will have already eaten breakfast, gotten ready for the day and started my work before they come to the kitchen. There may not be convenient time later in the day, so it’s important to make time to pray and keep up that conversation with God throughout the week. Plus, studies show that those who get out of bed immediately after waking up are less tired throughout the day than those who don’t (I have no idea which study I’m referencing . . . 34% of all statistics are made up on the spot).
When it comes to my family, I’ll admit that my social life has suffered (actually, it’s on life support). But that’s usually because I don’t want to make plans with anyone unless Alan is involved, so I’ve no one to blame but myself. So. No social life = lots of time! Lots of time for bonding, for talking, for cooking food at 10 p.m. And I try to accomplish all assignments for Monday during Thursday evening, so I can start the drive home directly from class on Friday. The long car ride is also the perfect opportunity for me to relax, especially if I haven’t had the time to do that throughout the week (unless, of course, there is an insane multiple-car accident on the route I take home). The weekends pass all too quickly, so by Saturday evening, it’s difficult for me to relax. After church on Sunday, I’m on the road again. When I’m at college, that face-to-face time converts to phone time. I try to ensure that all of my work is completed no later than 9 p.m., so I can focus completely on my conversation with Alan.
Computers are also huge time consumers. I usually have several tabs open on my browser at once, not to mention a few programs, so I’m typically rather occupied with my laptop. After I spent an entire evening at home writing, and didn’t realize that I had spent an evening with my laptop instead of Alan until 10 p.m., I realized that I need to keep track of how I spend my time. Now, the computer only comes on if there’s an important issue to handle or if Alan also happens to be using his laptop. The BlackBerry also helps because I can check e-mail in an instant and don’t have to start my laptop. This blog also takes the back burner when I’m at home. At college, it’s a great way for me to relax, be creative and write continuously. At home, it’s merely an occupier of my time.