It's Time to Talk About Why Time Management Is So Hard—And What We Can Do About It

I’ve always been the kind of person that tried to do it all. In high school, I was in multiple clubs, played a varsity sport, tried in school, and still went out with friends and family. Coming to college I wanted to maintain the way I had always done things before. I didn’t think twice about continuing my involvement in school activities or my other hobbies. I have always been an overachiever to a fault.

At the beginning of school, I joined a lot of clubs. My take was that I would slowly weed out the ones that were less important to me, and then I could stick with the ones that I was really passionate about. I still get emails from a stand-up poetry club I signed up to join at SPLASH. I never went to even one meeting. My friends often joke around with me because I am often running from one club to the next.

Yet, lately, I have been rethinking my overachieving approach. During this second semester, my workload has grown increasingly heavy, club meetings seem longer, the gym seems farther. Long to-do lists seem to stretch into an unknowing abyss. I find myself asking myself how I will ever get everything done. There just isn't enough time during the day!

Silver macbook by planner and flowers

The other day I was having a bit of an anxious moment when I was applying to an internship on top of having about one hundred other responsibilities that same day. I felt emotionally exhausted, physically tired, and I realized something absolutely vital to my wellbeing: Packing my schedule with a million activities was no longer making me happy.

This epiphany, although seemingly simple, really brought to light for me that doing everything doesn’t mean that you are succeeding at everything. When you push yourself too hard to do too many things, you enjoy them less, your performance in whatever you’re doing decreases, and you don’t have time to just relax.

I love doing lots of activities, and I feel like I thrive in environments that are busy and bustling. However, there’s a point where you have to take a step back and reevaluate. College is supposed to be where you’re figuring yourself out, and sometimes to do that, you just need to take a break.

white and black alarm clock with hand on gray table

I’ve always been terrible at chilling out. As odd as that sounds, I just have a tendency to feel like the opportunity cost of the time I spend relaxing is too great. If I chose to nap or watch TV, I often feel guilty that I’m not doing something more productive like homework, going to the gym, or something of that nature.

However, what I have come to realize is that relaxing is incredibly productive. Without downtime to take a break from your stress and world, you aren’t able to clear your head and think properly. It is impossible to enjoy the activities in your busy schedule if you’re always worrying about the next thing and never just reveling in what you’re doing at the moment.

I’ve always been bad at taking breaks, going with the flow, and mellowing out. Yet, I’ve come to realize how important it really is to slow down. Pushing yourself is definitely necessary sometimes, but if you’re pushing yourself too hard, the pressure will just end up taking a toll on your wellbeing.

Sometimes you have to take a step back and realize when things just aren’t right for you anymore, and being able to express such a realization is a serious sign of maturity. Life is short, so if packing your schedule is no longer making you happy, make the choice to reevaluate what does.

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