Contrary to what it may seem, I’m terrible at time management. I only know how to operate in two modes: I Have So Much Work to Do I Have Literally No Free Time, and I Have Nothing but Free Time and Can’t Do Any Work at All. The names are, I think, pretty self explanatory. What I should spend time explaining is how terrible I am at switching between the two.
When I’m booked from the moment I wake up to the moment I crawl dejectedly into bed in the small hours of the morning with work to do, I don’t know how to handle free time. When I realize I have a spare moment between meetings or finish an assignment unexpectedly early, it feels like I’ve arrived at the edge of a cliff with a yawning chasm of free time in front of me. My mind is so set on having so little free time throughout the day that I’ll use an hour of it as if it’s five minutes and scroll through social media or generally waste time instead of getting my act together and watching a movie. When I have a lot of free time, I can barely eke out any productivity because I’m so used to doing nothing.* Whenever I’m switching between these polar modes, I feel very disoriented, sort of as if I fell off the cliff in the aforementioned metaphor.
But there is hope for me to become more flexible with my time. At the end of this month, I’m going back to campus to spend the rest of the summer doing research for a fellowship in collaboration with a creative writing professor and the digital humanities department at my college. Having a mix of responsibilities and free time every day will be a great crutch to help me get used to creating a balance. Will I be able to continue this sort of practice during the school year when assignments start piling up again? Time will tell.
*Case in point: I’ve been up since 8:30 this morning and still waited until 7:00 p.m. to start writing this post on my phone.