The Busy: Boredom Ratio

College seems to come with a built-in timer that counts down every second till adulthood. The precious nature of time forces us to be strategic and efficient when planning our schedules. This is what I call the “busy to boredom ratio.” Finding the perfect ratio is difficult and we often have to make multiple alternations to both categories before finding the best way to divide the two.

Let me first define the two components of this ratio: busy and boredom. I characterize a boredom activity as anything you would find yourself doing in a state of boredom. Moreover, I define a busy activity as anything related to working toward future goals. Therefore, the ratio is basically equivalent to free time versus time spent on the grind. Not to say the two can’t overlap, but more on that to come.

The thing about being busy is that we are not likely to find ourselves in a state of boredom – meaning the presence of free time is practically non-existent. However, not being busy enough can have future consequences due to the little time spent investing in the future. Our unique ratios are very indicative of our lifestyle and personal goals. I always find it interesting to observe the way others divide their two components and then proceed to implement any strategies that could improve my own.

Image Source: Pic Jumbo ​

One strategy that optimized the resulting benefits of my ratio is finding overlap between both my busy and boredom components. For example, during my free time, I love to run. This used to fall under my boredom category until I got a job as a cross country coach. Not only do I get a bunch of running buddies, but I also get to share my passion with children while making some money all at the same time. Therefore, coaching is not mutually exclusive to either category which allows for instant gratification all while putting away some money that will later amount to delayed gratification.

Image Source: Bruce Mars​

Through experience, we learn that being too busy is bound to lead to burnout. This foresight reminds us that college needs to be treated like a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to make sure neither side of our ratio is neglected for too long. However, I also wouldn’t argue that the goal is to find a balance. Instead, finding where the two overlap will help prevent burnout and allow you to wake up each day feeling like you aren’t going to work.