Another Day, Another Lesson–Priorities.

After working through plenty of long days and nights over the years, I’ve begun to understand the value of time management through prioritizing. For the longest time my life was all about my grades and studying, which actually does still take up most of my time. Some things never quite change. My point though is that in high school I was so concerned with getting good marks that when I was sick (shout out to the year of Mono and Kidney Stones), I still never stopped worrying about my grades and how to hand my work in on time. At that moment I should have been taking care of myself, not stressing out more. School is a huge priority, but your health is even higher.

Academics have always been a top priority since…well grade school (not kidding). But in high school something else became a priority in my life. The moment I began working out. And I mean really working out. Not what I call “working out” today i.e.*does 10 crunches, checks for abs*. The more I prioritized body image, the less I cared about why I began to work out and eat better in the first place—to be healthier. When something like this consumes a lot of your life, then that means you’re spending less time on something that should be given higher priority. In my case? My family. My number one priority. Not my GPA and not what my body looks like. Family is my number one and I would always regret it if I didn’t make time for them every chance I have.

Life changes unexpectedly, which means some days I have to prioritize things differently. Schedules change, circumstances change, and therefore priorities change. However, certain ones remain pretty consistent. Let’s say it’s a Wednesday afternoon and you’re sitting in the student lounge stressing over your sociology paper. You’re also trying to study for an exam that day, while working on your internship application and researching college information, while also planning upcoming birthday gifts and then planning your spring break “dates” with hometown friends. Instead of overwhelming yourself, realize you need to take a step back from it all. Breathe. And recognize that 90% of the things you are worrying about at this exact moment are important, but not in the slightest bit something to stress out about to no end.

This semester I’ve learned the value of saying no, which is not something I am used to doing. I tend to make myself busier because I like being in the action, I like to help people, and I love to gain new experiences. I don’t like to disappoint people and when I don’t participate in something, I feel like I am. This is a trait that can be a blessing and a curse. I’ve learned that when you say yes to everything and sign up for everything that remotely strikes your interest, your priorities WILL get mixed up. You won’t be able to focus on what is most important in your life—the clubs/programs you truly enjoy and the people you should be making time for.

And why is this? Because you said yes. To everything.

You know what I’ve learned can be a priority on messy days? Making time for a nap. Or even just making time to go to sleep before 2am and wake up after 7am. What good is running down your body in order to make the perfect grade or get that extra workout in. Your work does not benefit from late-night hours once you become sick and end up with say, the flu for a week. At that point, saying yes to even your highest priorities is out of the question.

I’m learning to love the power of saying no. Nicely of course! Everyone has so much going on in their lives. We are busy students and I hope we can respect when our peers tell us they have a lot to do today and have to decline.

If we commit to only the things of high priority, then we could put ALL of our effort into these. Our bodies won’t get run down from spreading ourselves too thin. We won’t be miserable running to obligations. And maybe we’ll even have time to think, to sleep, to eat, to talk to your friends at dinner instead of eating while working on your laptop. Oh the good life that could be.

Life is short. I’m not going to waste hours each day worrying about everything and anything when I could prioritize my time by taking on the responsibilities, organizations and classes that improve my life on a daily basis, not just improve my resume.

I stumbled on this quote the other day and it seemed to fit the post. A reminder to prioritize thoughts too! Think happy 🙂

-Rachel

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