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Life

Why I Strive To Make My Days Full Instead of Busy

What makes the difference between a long day that leaves you feeling satisfied and a long day that leaves you feeling drained? When I got to college I wasn’t sure, but I did know that I liked my satisfying days a lot more than my draining days, even if they both lasted more than sixteen hours. The difference, I realized, was that my satisfying days were “full,” and my draining days were “busy.”

You may be thinking that “full” and “busy” are just two ways of saying the same thing, but let me make my case. Busy days are jam-packed from the start, with task after task scheduled in your planner and with seemingly no time to enjoy your meals or fit in a workout. Classes, homework, and jobs become the focal point of your day, and when it’s finally time to go to bed, you might struggle to think of the “best part” of the day — you’ll just be glad it’s over. While these days are often very productive and definitely give you something to feel proud of when nighttime rolls around, I wouldn’t say that these days are my favorite way to spend my time.

Let me explain what I mean by a “full” day. Full days still have an early start and a later end, and you’ll definitely want to continue prioritizing your responsibilities like school and work, but there’s a key difference that makes full days so satisfying: the integration of activities that you actually want to do. By including activities in your schedule that your professors aren’t mandating and that your job isn’t paying you for, your day becomes yours again. Sometimes this can make a long day just a little bit longer, but I find that it’s definitely worth it at the end of the day.

Once I realized that I liked my days full instead of busy, I actively began looking for ways to fit personal pursuits into my schedule. Instead of getting lunch to go and having a working lunch at home, I try to get lunch with a friend and make it a fun part of my day. If a friend asks to go to a new workout class with them, I skip out on my tried and true routine and give it a go. When I know I’ll have a free block of time in between classes, I bring a book and read outside instead of heading off to get some work done right away. By building bright spots that I look forward to in my day, I feel more in control of my schedule and my life.

Amelia Kramer-Coffee Shop Friend Date
Amelia Kramer / Her Campus

Since I’ve been trying to give myself more full days, I’ve noticed that my days (and weeks!) are still flying by — but no longer in a blur. Even just taking the extra time to hang out with my roommates instead of going right to bed can make all the difference. I have fun memories on even the most exhausting days, and that’s what I’m left thinking about when it’s time for bed. Creating personal time with intention during my days makes them more meaningful, and I’m so happy that I have this approach to life to carry with me into the future. 

Of course, some days are just going to be busy, and that’s okay. When you have things to do, you just have to get them done. However, taking the extra time to create a full day for yourself amidst a string of monotonous busy days can truly feel like a breath of fresh air. Yes, it’ll take some serious time management skills, but it’s important to remember that you are more than a student or intern or employee; you are a person, and your days belong to you. 

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Taylor Thoman / Her Campus

After reading this article, I hope you’ll consider approaching your day-to-day life in a way that makes it more fulfilling, in whatever way that may mean for you. It’s so easy to get swept up in the daily grind, but making these small changes to create full and personally satisfying days can be so beneficial. Instead of waiting for the weekend to do what you love, do it today!

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Emily Day

U Mass Amherst '24

Emily is a junior at UMass Amherst majoring in Business Management and Communication and pursuing minors in Spanish and Natural Resources Conservation. In her free time, she can be found hanging out with friends, dancing on the UMass Tap Team, or reading a new book.