Academic Success, Focus, Procrastination, Productivity, Time Management

The Downside of Reading Week

I was looking forward to my week off just a little too much this year. My midterms drained me and I wanted time off.

The truth of the matter is that time does not stop. Everyone else at the University (and in the fabled “real life”) just keeps going.

It is a sobering reminder of my responsibilities.

In case the subtext of this post is not incredibly clear, I have put it off to the last minute. Time is a slippery thing, and it got away from me during this week. I am behind on readings, I am behind on homework, I am behind on everything.

Because I had no responsibilities this week, or rather, because I thought I had no responsibilities this week, I did absolutely nothing and so I was rewarded with absolutely nothing. Ultimately, staying busy, accountable, and just a little bit stressed is better than always being carefree. When you do nothing, you prepare yourself for nothing. Breaks should be tempered with the knowledge of returning from break, and you should come back from a break even more prepared to continue than you were when you left.

I am sure that this will be familiar to everybody who is supporting themselves or others while going to school. In an effort to move this post beyond platitudes, I’m going to list the small changes to my day that I am going to be making to prepare myself for returning to a schedule.

1. Don’t sleep in.

Sleeping in feels great and reminds us all of the better, long-lost time of napping drowsily in amniotic fluid. When it is time again to wake up at 7:30 to make a morning commute, it is going to hit like a sucker-punch. I no longer have the destructive tendency to shift my sleeping habits later and later until I sleep all day and mope all night, but I know that this tendency is common.

2. Go outside.

It is so cold outside today that I cried small shards of ice. But it is important to go outside at regular intervals (even if its only once a day or less) just to keep up the habit of getting out. It feels great to stay at home all week, but the week after you’ll have to go outside again. It would be better to maintain the habit of leaving your home.

3. Keep yourself accountable.

Ultimately, remaining accountable is what this is all about. It may seem a great boon to be able to vanish from the world for a whole nine days, but you’ll have to find a way to integrate yourself back into that world or you’ll be left behind. You don’t need to do what I am doing at all. All you need is to find a way to keep yourself from doing nothing all day and ruining your good habits. Keep yourself accountable by fulfilling your duties and staying ready for going back to school.

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