“Will you send me a google invite to the potluck?” I asked my coworker after she invited me to a potluck at her house. “No, I absolutely will NOT” she answered, half laughing and half wondering why I could not seem to do anything without entering all specific details into my google calendar. I often wonder if this as well; it seems Google calendar rules my entire life.
Time management is essential to surviving, absolutely and entirely. College students are well aware of the difficulties or planning and managing various activities and social lives with work and other schedules is absolutely essential to being successful in day to day life. Adding time to allow oneself to relax and recuperate gets more and more difficult as that time is pushed to the back burner. Learning time planning and management skills when one is young can oftentimes make or break one’s capabilities to feel productive and relax.
First year college students are thrown to the wolves more times than not, entering into the fast paced and demanding lifestyle can be extremely difficult. Understanding how to balance a social life, work, classes and healthy physical and mental health without the resources one has at home leads many students to question their abilities to be “successful”.
Despite the fact that many universities and colleges try to provide counseling and tutoring resources to their students many are left without being able to feel comfortable in the new world in which they find themselves surrounded.
Students are encouraged to get involved in clubs, work, fitness groups, make “college memories”, etc. but how many times are we told to reflect and readjust. This includes taking into account the stress of our bodies and minds then changing the plans we thought we could so easily achieve. How often are we asked when we have demanded too much of ourselves?
My boss recently shared with me a statement her father told her while she was in college: “College is the best time of your life with the least amount of responsibility”. That statement has stuck with me as I pile on more and more and more into my schedule. At what point does all become too much? How do we recognize that point?
The only thing that keeps me sane is trusting myself to time manage properly in the coming months so no one class or work project avalanches onto me.
Having that trust in myself brings me peace however, there is are privileges in my life that allow me to recuperate when I feel it necessary. Many other women in the United States do not have this luxury as identified by Laura Briggs in How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics. Briggs outlines the ways in which women are often pushed into the public arena to achieve a private life.
Through the book, Briggs discusses how women are forced to submit pieces of their personal lives to conform to the capitalist paid labor force such as delaying childbirth until later in life to build a career. She also asks why are women forced to alter their life plans rather than creating a paid labor force that allows women to have control of their lives and bodies without such worries.
Women in the public sphere during the 20th century struggled with this question immensely. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my personal hero, was not allowed to pursue a career in legal advocacy for 15 years after earning her Juris Doctorate and even after she began to practice law, was forced to hide the pregnancy of her son, James Ginsburg, for the first few months. These experiences of her life are spoken about in the documentary, RBG and her book My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Harriet Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams.
Not only did Ruth Bader Ginsburg work under sexist conditions, one of the reasons Justice Ginsburg is so successful is that she worked well into 4 or 5 AM on a regular basis throughout her entire career. Her ability to work without sleep is amazing but unreplicable and not a good plan of action for women entering the paid workforce. It is appalling to see amazing women forced into degrees of humiliation and personal expense while attempting to achieve a career and success.
This is where I find myself, wondering whether or not I have planned too much while asking myself how college students are allowed to have so much demanded of them and for this time in our lives to be labelled “the most fun with least responsibility”. As I said, I trust my abilities to plan and my google calendar to keep me updated with being able to achieve all I have committed.
If one is looking into getting themselves organized and effectively managing their time there are several resources available and ways to help students. The Austrailian Professional Skills Institute has seven time management tips which they have outlined. These include making and using a calendar, getting enough sleep, using checklists and eliminating distractions. Google Calendar and Google Keep are excellent ways to keep track of To-Do lists and upcoming events that are accessible and synced, as long as you have an internet connection.
However, one of the most important parts of having time management skills which will promote you forward is knowing the boundaries of your life and how much time you require to feel relaxed enough to move on with the next task, as to avoid burnout. Once one is able to understand these boundaries and implicate them into your life, navigating which time management tools are most effective for you will have all the more impact.