I’m a busy person, and I like it that way. That’s how it’s always been for me. Throughout elementary and middle school, I participated in various extracurricular activities, from dance to karate to piano to voice and then back to karate, and so on and so forth. I was a member of a Girl Scout troop, I did the plays and musicals at my church, and I did all of my homework on time. In high school, I was involved in so many different aspects of my church that I was there almost every day of the week. In college, I keep myself so busy that some days I wonder why I do it all.
Of course, I love everything that I do, and that is the main reason that I do it. In fact, if there was more time in the day, I’d probably be doing more. Another thing that I’ve realized is I just work better under pressure. I watched a TED Talk on procrastination that does a phenomenal job of explaining this, but it basically comes down to the fact that I need that sense of impending doom to give me a kick in the pants. I always get everything done on time (sometimes miraculously)—but if I ever have anything done early, it’s either because I’ve tricked myself into thinking it was due early so I can trigger the sense of impending doom that makes me get stuff done, or because I’ve been in “positive procrastination” mode—that is, I have something major due pretty soon, so instead I work on a minor assignment that isn’t due for a while, because I’d rather be doing anything but that big project (though I get to it eventually, sometimes the night before). That’s just how I motivate myself.
So now that it’s summer, I’m somewhat at a loss. What do I do? I only have a few things that I absolutely have to get done, and they don’t really have to be done until the end of the summer. I have one or two weekly deadlines, but that’s nothing compared to what I’m used to. In the past, my reaction to this (going from having essentially no free time to all the free time) has been to just do nothing: I stay in bed past ten, I binge watch my favorite shows and movies online, and I read to my heart’s content. So what's wrong with letting myself relax like this?
The problem is that I know I’m wasting my time. I want to be productive, I just have to change my tactics of how to motivate myself using incentives instead of consequences. It’s okay to watch Netflix for two hours straight, as long as I spend some time walking around outside. If I work on articles for an hour, I can sleep in. I’ll let myself read for fun as long as I also spend time researching grad schools. What I’m learning is that moderation is key, and finding a sense of balance is life-changing. I don’t want to look back on my summer and regret all of the time I wasted, but I also want to use this time to relax and recharge so I can take on next semester with renewed vigor.
So yes, I’ll let myself stay in bed on Vine and YouTube for an extra hour tomorrow morning. But you’d better believe that I’ll also finally teach myself how to make enchiladas because I want to make the most of this free time while I have it.
Make the most of your summer! After all, it’s your time you’re wasting, and you won’t get it back.