schedule that I designed to help me take better control of my time. I cannot say that it has been a success, although I still think that it was a good idea. The problem lies not in the schedule itself or in any fault of my own (procrastination, etc.), but rather in the simple fact that there are not enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the month to do everything that I need and want to do.
I have tried to stick to the schedule as much as possible, but there have been many times when I have had to replace fun activities such as writing blog posts or creating art journal pages with working on homework for school. It is unavoidable. Much as I would like to do otherwise, I simply must put priority on my schoolwork. And the amount of time that I allotted in my schedule for it is simply not enough, even when I add in all of the "blank," unscheduled times as well. To make matters worse, I am working on my graduating essay this semester, which will no doubt be taking up much of my time until mid-April. (I'm not actually graduating yet, by the way - I still have one semester left after this one.)
Yes, I have written before about finding the time, but sometimes the time is simply not there to find.
I do, however, always find time for my morning and evening sessions of meditation, exercise, and journal-writing. These sessions add structure and meaning to my day, and are always a relief after the chaotic, stressful busy-ness of the rest of the day. These times allow me to think and reflect on the happenings in my life, to wonder and ponder and just relax.
In an effort to find a little bit more time, I have been trying to stay up later at night (to 10:30pm instead of 10:00pm). Since it was often taking me an hour or more to fall asleep, I thought I might as well use that time to do something more enjoyable than toss and turn - read, write, draw mandalas, or make a collage. I would like to get up a bit earlier in the morning as well, simply because my morning session feels rushed, but this is harder for me. My alarm is currently set at 6:20am, but I will try to gradually set it earlier to 6:00am.
I feel slightly ridiculous writing this, as if anyone out there actually cares about the times I get up and go to bed. I suppose what I really want to say is that despite all of this, despite the fact that this probably will be my busiest semester ever, I feel surprisingly content and even happy. My mind feels clear and focused. Having at least two people in my life now that I count as friends (something that I couldn't say not too long ago) probably helps.
So does the realization that it (meaning my undergraduate school career) is almost over (finally!). Of course, that brings its own worries, such as: What on earth am I going to do after I graduate? But I'm trying not to worry about that too much right now. I'm trying to focus on now, on getting through this semester, and hoping that, somehow, things will all work out in the end. And perhaps five, ten, or twenty years from now I will look back on this time with fondness.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
As I described in my last post, time has a habit of slipping away all too quickly. Looking back, the days, weeks, and even years begin to blur together, and it seems as though a year passes by as quickly as a month used to do when I was a child. To pin down the days, and to document both the everyday and extraordinary happenings of my life as well as the cycles of the natural world, I try to keep a daily journal, and I have begun, this year, to take a photo of the natural world every day.
Looking ahead, it is easy to make goals and resolutions about things that we want to do: exercise more, spend more time with our families, go on long hikes more often, etc. But it is much harder to actually put these goals into practice and change our old habits of procrastination and not making the time for the things that are really important to us.
Not only does procrastination prevent us from getting done the things we need to get done, it often also does not allow us to do the things that we really enjoy. When I procrastinate, I tell myself that I will get started on writing that report (or whatever the task is) in a few minutes. I'll just do a few things on the computer and then I'll get to work. After I have written the report, then I'll go for a walk or create a page in my art journal. The trouble is that those few minutes soon multiply, and when I finally get the report written, there is no time left to do anything fun.
Last semester, my procrastination got so bad that eventually I had to start cutting out things like meditating, reading, and exercising. And I was still procrastinating! I told myself that I was too busy studying to meditate or read books, but somehow I still spent a lot of time fooling around on the computer or doing other pointless activities.
This is why I am going to try to take greater control of my time this semester. I am doing this by making a schedule. This schedule includes not only the times of my classes, but also times when I will review notes, work on homework, write posts for my blogs, meditate, exercise, write in my journal, and do other activities. Most importantly, the schedule also contains blocks of "empty" time, times when I have no specific activity scheduled and that allow me to be flexible, to shift things around to make time for an appointment or other unexpected event.
I hope that by scheduling times to work on things and to study (and by having it on paper), it will be harder for me to procrastinate. Scheduling time for fun activities such as working in my art journal will also allow me to enjoy these activities without worrying about not having enough time to work on my school work. When I do have scheduled time for homework, I have also scheduled breaks after every hour so I don't become tired.
I have written before about finding the time for spiritual practice, yet when I am honest with myself I know that I have not always taken my own words to heart. Although not too long ago I would never have thought of using something as mundane as a schedule to plan my spiritual or artistic practices, I am beginning to realize that scheduling my time may be the only option I have if I truly want to make changes in my life. To take control of the passing days.