A friend sent me a quote from this article last week, which discusses “busy-ness,” a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Due to a last-minute change in my scholarship (i.e. I get more money, but have to work for it), I’ve been working on campus 20 hours per week in addition to my regular grad school workload (classes, clients, homework) since January. Some weeks the stress isn’t so bad, but I’ve had a few breakdowns, there have been some tears, and Galen has proven time and again that he deserves a medal for being The Greatest Most Supportive Boyfriend Ever.
Instead of turning into that person that thinks they’re busier than anyone else in the world has ever been, ever, I’ve been trying to turn this stress into something positive by being a compassionate listener when classmates of mine (or Galen’s) talk about their workloads and stress. I try so hard not to complain when talking to classmates, friends, professors, family, or strangers I meet on the bus, but the bottom line is I want to complain all the time. I waste time thinking about all the ways to quantify how busy I am. (This is what a degree in math will get you…) I know it’s not helpful, but the other options (giving up on a social life, sleep, or Me Time) seem so much worse.
That said, the article made me think about the amount of time I spend doing things that don’t really help my situation (I’m looking at you, Facebook). I decided to start tracking my time over the next week or two to see where it’s going when I’m not paying attention.
The article also included this suggestion, which I liked:
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
Yesterday, I went for a run. I made running a priority, because I know it helps me focus and sleep better. I only ran for about 15 or 20 minutes, but it was totally worth it. Now it seems a little silly to say “I don’t have time for a 20-minute run,” so I’ll have to be honest with myself when it’s not a priority. Is this life-changing? No. But I just started a new quarter and I’m trying to be as organized and methodical as possible. We’ll see how it goes…