I didn’t realize there was such a thing as putting too much on my plate until I came to law school. I was always busy in undergraduate college, and while it would phase me sometimes, I always got everything done. I guess I’m not as “young and resilient” as I used to be. As I stated in my previous post I’m currently taking 6 classes, working a little bit and have taken on a few other extracurricular activities. What was I thinking!?
I think I’ve discovered the root of my stress, however, and the culprit must be putting way too much on my to-do list. I didn’t think this was possible because I’ve neatly categorized everything dealing with due dates, and I try my best to prioritize and resist procrastination. But what ends up happening is that I put too much to do on a single day, severely underestimate the time it will take me to work on or complete a task, and then feel awful when I can only faithfully cross off one or two things out of five I had scheduled for the day. Then, those tasks I didn’t complete the day before get moved over to the next day. It is a vicious, vicious cycle that I need to break. Many of my to-do list items are ongoing projects like papers or outlining, and these usually won’t be done until the beginning of December or whenever their due dates are, but it’s important to me to work on something a little bit throughout the semester. However, I never quite feel satisfied with my “stopping” point on a given project I’m working on so I continue to work on it, which gives me no time to work on other things in the day. I just don’t know when to stop. Too make matters worse, my sleep schedule cannot even be called a “schedule.” I always sleep in another hour or so before I eventually wake, and then I feel like I’ve already lost so much of my day. In the end, I usually feel dissatisfied and defeated. I always feel like I have way too much to do, and my skimpy check-marking on my to-do lists magnify the problem.
Another problem I’ve discovered is that sometimes I have a hard time telling people “no.” I have definitely been better in this department as far as my friendships go, but it helps so much when I have understanding friends who know that I have a lot on my plate. It’s not always easy for me to say “no” though. But when it comes to employers, potential employers, professors or other people I’m working with it becomes much harder for me to just turn something down. I regret getting involved in a few extra curricular activities simply because I can’t seem to get my schoolwork under control or to a point that I am happy with to allow extra room for something else.
This article had really great, simply advice on time management. I know in the end all of my projects will get done because that is the type of person I am, but if I let myself get burnt out or fail to keep things prioritized I’m going to run into some issues. The above picture is a snapshot of my schedule this month. I may attempt to move things around (based on priority), but I’ve discovered that if I can keep my days to two or three tasks (on top of actually attending class and working/volunteering) I can normally get those done or get very close to being done. It’s such an amazing feeling to me to cross everything off my to-do list before 10pm every night (this doesn’t happen very often).
I’m nervous about my last semester of law school–everything will seem bigger, for lack of a better word. There will be serious focus on job searching, and I’m considering going back to my previous internship or taking up a research assistant position that I can hang on to while I study for the bar. While money would be amazing, I may work for school credit so I can lessen my course load my final semester.
Can you tell I’m very much over-the-top Type A? I’m so organized that it hurts sometimes, and I’m obsessed with time management. It’s such a brutal personality type, but I am what I am.