“I can't, I need to study”
© 1 Nov 2011 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Not having time takes a lot of time.


An Anecdote

Once I dropped by a student apartment of an evening and invited an occupant to join me and some friends in a quick bit of fun.

“‍I’d love to,‍” replied this fellow, “‍but I can’t, I need to study‍”.

I offed, but returned under an hour later to find this fellow unmoved. I inquired if he were now free to engage in a different entertainment and was told that no, he still had a lot of studying to do. I expressed sympathy and moved on, but after another two hours found myself once more in that apartment and the lad in question still loafing about looking miserable.

“‍Studying not go well?‍” I asked.

He seemed to evade the question and, not feeling to let him dodge it, I pried until he revealed he had not yet begun to study.

“‍Then what have you been doing these past three hours?‍” I asked.

The answer? Basically, nothing. Started to make a snack but didn’t find anything that looked appetizing, flipped through a catalog, complained about how much studying he had to do to each of his roommates… generally killed time.

A Moral

Being stressed can consume a lot of time. When “‍I need to work‍” comes to loggerheads with “‍I don’t want to work‍” it is easy to drift along, doing little and enjoying nothing. Easy, but detrimental: the deadlines loom closer, the stress builds, and all is ugly.

When I noticed this trend in my friend I determined to never kill time being stressed. When not working, I enjoy myself. “‍I need to do‍” was no longer a valid excuse; “‍I am doing‍” is, as is “‍I’m scheduled to do‍”, but “‍I can’t, I need to do‍” is another way of saying “‍no, I’d rather wait around stressing.‍”

Removing from my schedule time spent being stressed resulted in several benefits. I was better rested, less stressed, and happier. As a result, my working time was more productive. I developed a habit of making and keeping personal schedules since they were required to make future work take priority over relaxation. And as a side-effect, my social life blossomed because I was more available and spent more time with my friends.

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