Image from Stocksnap.

Image from Stocksnap.

It’s halfway through the school year and you’re busy. While most people will say that busy is doing a bit of reading on Sunday, you know the true meaning of busy: a calendar filled with back-to-back events in a variety of colors. But what happens when you don’t have time to eat or shower? You might be too busy if:

1. You don’t have time to take care of yourself

I don’t mean having time for a two hour video game session everyday. I mean basic human-y things like eating, showering, and breathing. If you find yourself embroiled in class and extracurriculars during the day, and you only have time for homework at night, you’re way too busy. You should have some time where you purely get to do something you want without feeling guilty, even if you only have ten or fifteen minutes to do it.

2. You’re always stressed

Stress is a natural byproduct of college (as well as life!) but you should have moments when you’re relaxed and enjoying what you do. It’s easy to feel guilty about taking a break when it seems everyone around you is working nonstop, but resist the temptation. Breaks are healthy. Think about what you’re ultimately working toward. Will the stress now be worth it later? If not, you may want to reexamine your goals and your day to day life.

3. You can’t get the stuff done that needs to get done

What about when you’re so busy that homework and other necessary tasks regularly fall to the wayside? You may be so mired in the details that you forgot why you came to college in the first place: to learn. If you’re always late for events and unprepared for class, you’ve probably bitten off way more than you can chew.

How to fix it:

1. Learn to say no

No isn’t a bad word. If you really can’t do something, you shouldn’t say that you can. Sometimes personal time (like doing homework, a hobby, or resting after a tough week) is seen as free time, but this isn’t always true. That time is important for regrouping.

“But what about when friends ask to hang out? If I keep turning them down, soon they’ll stop asking,” you say.

I have a simple reply: make your time work for you instead of the other way around. Do things with friends that you have to anyway, like eating or studying. However, make sure that you don’t get too distracted. If you can’t hang out with them while doing what needs to get done, ask for a raincheck. Make sure to specify the new date when you’re rearranging. Plans postponed for “someday” rarely happen.

2. Schedule self care like it matters (because it does!)

School eventually ends. Your body is something you can never escape. So why is it more acceptable to pull all nighters than to exercise or eat healthily? It’s okay to push yourself, but it’s not okay to blearily watch the sun rise every night/morning. Caring for yourself is just as important as class or work. If you’re a scheduler, pencil (or type) it into your calendar. It’s another way to make sure it gets done.

3. Drop your least important activity

If you’re juggling too many balls, see if you can put one down. Look at everything you do in a week. Are the things you’re doing helping you reach a goal or giving you happiness? If not, drop it. If it’s in the middle of the semester, the ease of dropping something may vary. For example, it would probably be easier to drop the Board Games Club than competitive debate. If you can’t lighten your load this semester, definitely take notes for the next one. It can be hard giving up something you’ve done for a long time, but if you don’t enjoy it in the long term, what’s the point?

Being busy is rarely something that happens all at once. You start with a manageable schedule, then you take on one more project, or one more club, or one more job . . . and things bubble out of control. Retake control of your life. You can now use all of your newfound free time for showering! Your friends will thank you.

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