I want to preface this post by acknowledging busy does not equal success. I think too many people glorify busy. The world makes us think it’s okay to be busy because it seems like the more projects we’re working on, the more successful we are. Being in a constant grind is praised as we push our productivity levels farther and father. I know that I am constantly running around with too many things on my plate. I am not proud when people ask me how I am doing and the only response I can muster is “busy.” It’s honestly not okay when we’re constantly SO busy that we can’t live life to its full potential.
No matter how much you enjoy what you do, you want to work to live, not live to work. Being busy has its benefits, but no one is going to look down on you if you take some time to better yourself.
My brother, Joey, and I were raised to have a very strong work mentality. Joey may be the hardest worker I know. His days usually start at 3:30 a.m. when he travels at least an hour to work until 3 p.m., then going to his house that he is building until about 11:30 p.m. Then repeat. The most impressive part of it is that he honestly does it with a smile and is constantly optimistic and willing to help anyone out who needs it.
I cannot say that I am half as graceful with my workload. My busiest days were when I was taking three classes during wedding season while working full-time for UConn. My days consisted of waking up at 5 a.m., traveling an hour to work for 7 a.m., taking a class during my lunch break, going back to work, then hitting another class from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. and another class from 7-9:30 p.m. one to three times per week. After finishing homework, I’d head back home and work on editing weddings until around 11 p.m. - 2 a.m. I would pull an all-nighter a few times a month.
Neither of these schedules are desirable or maintainable, but we are able to see the long-term benefits of the current struggle. Yes, it’s hard. No, we didn’t have much of a social life, but it definitely builds character and helps you appreciate the importance of living life.
If I can go back and do it again, I would try to stick to some of the things I learned in the process...
- Get rid of Netflix - It is a HUGE time waster when you’ve got things to do and way too tempting to use for breaks. One episode break turns into three… we all know how that goes.
- Take time to rest. You will be far less productive pushing through those late hours than being efficient in a well-rested state.
- Take care of yourself. This was a big one for me -- The first thing I let slip was my health in order to maintain my workload. Make clean meals, drink plenty of water, and keep exercising.
- Prioritize. Get your most pressing work done first.
- Be efficient. Concentrate on your task at hand and don’t move on until you’ve reached your goal that day.
- Don’t overcommit - produce the same quality work across every commitment and avoid burnout.
- Spend time with your friends and family.
As I near graduation, I can’t wait to restructure my life, focus more on my health and happiness, and transition to a more maintainable schedule. There will ALWAYS be a large workload in our lives whether it be from homeownership, pets, kids, etc. Responsibilities are everywhere, so it’s important to make sure to always strive for some kind of a balance between work and play.
You don’t want your life to flash by and realize you spent most of it in front of a computer. Sure, you can spend those two hours working or binging on Netflix, or you can get up and go have an adventure or spend that time with your family. You’ve got more time than you think, it’s just how you use it. So stop putting busy on a pedestal and do whatever makes you come alive.