Sometimes learning proper time management isn’t enough to get everything done that needs to be done. There’s only so much one human being can juggle before they drop the ball.
Even those who claim to have mastered time management struggle with completing tasks if they accept more than they can realistically handle. The art of successfully managing one’s responsibilities is actually closely associated with another skill that many people have difficulties with, and in my opinion, it is both the easiest and the hardest to learn: saying “no.”
How many responsibilities can you load onto your shoulders before you break your back? My current goal in life is to never find out. If you’ve read this entire series from the beginning, then you know how busy my life is. If you haven’t heard about my rather obscene schedule, here is the link. It’s impossible for me to dedicate time to every responsibility every day. There are certain activities that take priority and certain activities that have to wait until I’m done with those priorities. So far this semester, my exercise routine has taken the biggest toll; I’ve been focused on teaching music and encouraging bonding within my groups, going to class, doing homework, going to work, and getting a decent amount of sleep. Most weeks, the only time I have to exercise is during the weekend. Running two miles two/three days a week isn’t as satisfying as doing it everyday (as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, running relieves anxiety for me), but it’s just not as important as all the other responsibilities I have to take care of. To maintain my juggling metaphor: sometimes I have to throw one ball away in order to keep all the others up in the air.
If you’re struggling to complete assignments or carry out responsibilities because of your busy schedule, it may be time to let something go. Take a look at your priorities. What’s at the top of the list? What’s at the very bottom? How relevant is each event/organization to your future? How important is your role in each event/ organization? Which ones do you dedicate all of your time to, and which ones consistently wait their turn? Now, keep in mind that classes should always come first. You’re in college for a reason. Also, if you let your grades drop too low, chances are you won’t be allowed to stay in that organization you prioritized over your classes, anyway, as most extracurriculars have a minimum GPA requirement. Classes and homework first, outside organizations later.
To all the freshman who are new to UCM this year: I recommend you not jump into more than one or two extracurriculars at the start. Go to class, do your homework, assess the difficulty level, get adjusted. Then, if/when you’re ready for more, build onto your schedule from there. You may not want any more than one or two extracurricular activities. Maybe you’ll realize later on that you have to get a job on top of the two organizations you’ve already joined. It’s easier to find out that you can’t fit anymore into your schedule than it is to squeeze in too much and then have to quit something just to maintain your sanity. Trust me, I know.
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