Striving to live virtuously through self-improvement: Time management

Up until a few days ago, procrastination had become an unfortunate constant in my life. With a full schedule of seven classes and multiple extra-curricular activities, you would think I would try my best to stay on top of everything, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

by Samantha Donat:

Up until a few days ago, procrastination had become an unfortunate constant in my life. With a full schedule of seven classes and multiple extra-curricular activities, you would think I would try my best to stay on top of everything, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Let me vouch for myself first: I’m a good student—I earn respectable grades in respectable classes—but my issue is that I’m not a very “timely” person. So when I volunteered to not procrastinate for a month, I decided to stage an intervention with myself, and thoroughly evaluate where my time was disappearing to. I decided to create a schedule for my daily work. It consisted of coming home from school, doing my homework, taking a break to exercise for an hour, showering, eating a quick dinner, finishing my homework and then preparing for bed. It sounds easy enough to follow, right? Not for me. Even with my handy-dandy schedule, procrastination still managed to sneak its way into my routine. The worst part is that I couldn’t even understand where all of my time was going. It literally disappeared, as if each minute went by twice as fast. I didn’t waste precious hours stalking people on Facebook or lounging around in front of the television, yet I couldn’t seem to figure out why time was passing me by so quickly.

[pullquote]”I finally realized the true key to timeliness: bits and pieces.”
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I began to think of myself as a “put-it-offer”—the kind of person that often says, “Oh, this can wait until tomorrow, can’t it?” After a few days of following my schedule, I realized that I was still procrastinating to the same extent. Long-term assignments began to pile up as due dates loomed closer, and even daily work was being put off until last minute. So, I staged another intervention, and I began to really force myself to do things before I needed to, even if it was just one small bit of work at a time. If I found myself with extra time during class, I would get a head start on my Spanish homework. As opposed to twiddling my thumbs after finishing a day’s work, I would do parts of my work on the next day’s agenda. And after a few days I began to realize how those small pieces had begun to build up: I had managed to finish my AP Biology homework the day before it was due! At that point I finally realized the true key to timeliness: bits and pieces. Even if it was just a few problems, or simply reading over the instructions to a project or lab, getting a head start like that really made a difference on my workload in the long run.

Sighing with relief that I would finally be on the fast track to avoiding procrastination, I sat back for a little while and applauded my persistency. The next day I returned home from school, still content with myself. But rather than hitting the books right away, I filed my nails, reorganized the papers on my desk and even let myself surf the web for a bit. And then it hit me: I was procrastinating. Again. Teeming with frustration, I bit my lip and reluctantly returned to my books. Beating procrastination once and for all wasn’t going to be easy, but it would certainly be possible. “Relapses” are going to happen, but as long as I continue to reset myself on the right path, I’ll be on my way to a procrastination-free life.

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