Jermaine Reed, MFA is a college professor and writer from Chicago, who creates fiction, nonfiction and local and national news stories. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get notifications on new blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get his recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here. Follow J Reed on Twitter @jreed913 . Check out The Reeders Block Podcast and subscribe there to hear more.
Right now, there’s a college athlete wondering how she’ll do basketball practice and study for her exams. If she doesn’t pass her exams, she can’t play. If she doesn’t practice, she can’t play. On the other side of town, a young man is out on his own, wondering how he can work enough to pay rent and afford and attend night classes in college. Some may think the previously mentioned plights are impossible. However, it is possible to do it all — work, school and party — but it takes a certain discipline.
Though college shouldn’t be treated like a party, there are plenty, and you should enjoy them to an extent. All work and no play is a recipe for disaster. You need to release the pinned-up stress you’re carrying around in your tight muscles. Still, you must unwind wisely. There is a fine line between unwinding and losing control.
Moreover, this may sound abstract, but plan your days loosely if not in full detail. Putting your life on paper helps to see what works best for your schedule. For instance, if you normally have lunch at noon and you prefer a stress-free lunch, it would not be wise to plan to study while having lunch. You may be distracted and unable to absorb the information you are reviewing.
Be realistic about the negative people in your life and lose contact with them. You know how important the meeting coming up at work tomorrow morning is. Yet you have that one person who guilt trips you into clubbing until the wee hours of the morning. You always feel terrible after these nights. Tell that person how much you enjoy spending time with them, but explain why you have to draw boundaries on certain days. Real friends or spouses understand. The others should be of no concern to you.
On another note, prioritize your life. Do you have kids? A job? School? A great personal life? Which comes first? What’s the most vital in order of importance? This is crucial to consider. At some point, you may have to choose between working a double or doing a final exam. Be prepared to have to potentially make such a decision.
As you see, balance can be gained by mapping out your day. Prioritize the elements of your life: work, school and family and friends. Doing so will prepare you for hard decisions down the road. Remove from your life people who distract you, intentionally or unintentionally, from your overall goals and time management. If you do all of the above, there is no way you can fail.
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