My spring semester started two weeks ago and already I feel swamped. I’ve entered a semester-long robot competition in addition to having a normal course load, and I have summer internship applications and club responsibilities to juggle. The hardest part is that whenever I have a free moment and I just have to take a break, I can’t relax without thinking to myself that I have a full to-do list, and I don’t have any excuse for not doing those things that have to get done.
I’m doing two things differently this semester to organize the deluge of work, and it has worked well so far.
Google Calendar and Tasks
I discovered this semester that if you turn on Tasks in Google Calendar and assign due dates to them, they show up on the calendar with little checkboxes. When you check an item, it draws a satisfying little line through the title of the task. I use tasks for my things to do outside of class, like club duties and internship deadlines. Those show up in orange. I have a seperate green calendar for homework, so I can see at a glance what has an academic deadline and what might be put off until tomorrow. I also have calendars for class times and general events.
In the past, I’ve kept track of homework assignments in my head. It worked well throughout high school and had worked out all right until now. But without my calendars, I don’t think I could keep up this semester. It’s amazing how many times I’ve thought to myself, “I feel like I have nothing to do; there must be something!” at which point I check the calendar and find that yes, there are at least five or six things I should be doing. Having a ready list keeps me on task. Just having everything on the calendar also helps me realize how little time I actually have and how important it is to schedule well.
I’m a big fan of Reddit.com. I like the community, and I always find interesting articles to read. I even participated in the first Reddit Secret Santa last year. The problem with it for me is that once I click a link or two, I find myself clicking more, and I can never get away from it.
At some point over winter break, I decided that although I was having a very relaxing vacation spending hours a day on Reddit and never getting out of bed, not being productive was getting on my nerves. I’d think of lots of projects I wanted to work on, and at the end of the day, nothing happened. To break that pattern, I decided that for my new year’s resolution I would remove the Reddit link on my browser toolbar and abstain from the site altogether. I didn’t think I could handle never visiting Reddit again, so I decided to stay away until February and reevaluate my decision at that time. Well, it has been a month, and even though I miss keeping up with news and memes, avoiding Reddit has been wonderful for my productivity. I’m a little sad to say that for the sake of my classes I’m going to have to continue my resolution into the rest of the spring semester.