I wrote an article in January, The Goal Too Far, and while I try to live by my own words, sometimes it can be very difficult to cut myself some slack. I have myself on a fairly strict schedule. I try to allow time for that schedule to evolve and to change, depending on daily occurrences. If I feel like I have let school slide too much I am wrought with guilt and stress. This inevitably leads to me spending the next few days getting myself caught back up to where I think I should be?even if that means pushing myself past exhaustion.
The problem with my “strict schedule” is that it is in my mind. I feel I should be dedicating a certain number of hours a day to my studies. I have never taken the time to physically schedule my time in my day-planner. I typically have a date in mind, when I would like to finish, and I work toward that.
I have read about the importance of writing things down; spending the time to plot out the course?but, I never did. Instead I relied on my intuition, if I was mentally exhausted at the end of the day I was happy. The problem with keeping an invisible schedule is that I do not see my progress. I do not feel gratification at the end of the day if I only complete part of a unit, or only spent a few hours on school. This leads me back to that feeling of guilt and not being able to fully relax for an evening; always having that voice nagging me, saying, “you should be doing school.”
I finally decided it was time to make a change. The stress I laid on myself was beginning to take its toll. I scheduled something for each day, I even scheduled breaks (Sunday) and catch up days (every other Saturday) and already I can see the benefit to scheduling this way. I look ahead to Monday and I can see exactly what I need to do. I can see when, in theory, I will complete the course (which answers the question that plagues me every other month on the 9th “do I order my next two courses?”) And, if I have not allowed myself enough time for some activities, I can easily adjust my schedule accordingly.
By writing things down, by writing down my goals, I, so far, have not felt like I have fallen behind. I do not feel like I have not spent enough time at school. I feel as though my mind has taken a sigh of relief. No longer am I trying to keep track of my time in the back of my mind while I work on assignments. It is all laid out, day by day, I work to finish each task. But, if I do not finish on the scheduled day I have a contingency plan in place.
I always thought, “Yes! That is a great idea!” when I read articles about the importance of scheduling your time. But I never followed through with doing it myself. I would schedule assignments, sometimes, but nothing else. If you are like me, I highly recommend taking the time and physically plotting your time. It is not that hard once you get started, and it is completely worth the time it takes. I have even scheduled in time to schedule my next set of courses.
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature