I spent fifteen minutes scrolling through Wikipedia’s list of cognitive biases – I can do that now, instead of studying – looking for something that perfectly describes what I’m sure I’m not feeling. It’s like the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy but not; it’s more like the old adage, “when it rains, it pours”. It’s the incorrect inference that the events in our lives happen in patterns of lots at once and then few or none for a while. It’s when we’re so psyched up by one thing that we add more meaning to others and make them seem bigger. It’s not what I’m feeling.
Google Calendar can confirm that this isn’t just in my head: the past week (which I realized as I wrote this has been less than three days) has been hellish, jam-packed with obligations, responsibilities, duties, and synonyms. It started with a take-home test and an essay due on Tuesday, then an in-class test on Wednesday, and finally a rhetoric analysis, two question sets, and a mid-term today. In the control group, I had a one-page analysis due last week and another due next week.
This won’t be a surprise to the seasoned students out there, clucking their tongues and shaking their heads as they read about this unsuspecting schmuck who got blindsided by poor scheduling. Of course assignments are due in chunks, they say. That’s how it works. Unfortunately, that’s not how I work. If adrenaline junkies are folks who seek out thrills to get their epinephrine pumping, I’m the naive kid in the sweater-vest wondering if you should be doing that in here because you could get in trouble. I hate stress, pressure, and deadlines and I cannot stand the taste of coffee.
So what does this mean for you, the student who’s actively reading blogUT? In most cases, you’re not me* and you don’t really care how I feel or how many problem sets I had due today. You’re reading this for useful information, not the directionless diatribes of the dysfunctional. You’re about to turn away, maybe check out 9gag or something, when suddenly you see:
3 Time-Management Tips for Time-Management Idiots
Un-Schedule Your Day
Everyone will tell you it’s best to plan out what you’re going to do ahead of time so you don’t get sidetracked. But to those of us who are so skilled at wasting time that we do it anyway, there’s another option. At the end of every day, write down exactly how you spent the past 24 hours. It will show you where you’re wasting time most and give you the chance to avoid those mistakes the next day. It’s much easier to eliminate specific problem areas than it is to eliminate all of them with a sweeping gesture and the phrase “STUDY 1:00-5:00″ in pen. Chronic websurfers even get a boon in the form of internet history – it’ll tell you exactly what you were doing and when, unless you used private browsing. And if you did, I don’t wanna know why.
“While I’m Here” is the Stupidest Argument Ever
It’s also how my mother gets me to buy new pants. We go to Yorkdale to return something or something, then, “oh, the Bay is having a sale! While we’re here…”. Being on the computer does not mean you should check your email/Facebook/Neopets account any more than being near a drop-in clinic means you should get a colonoscopy. Decide why you’re doing something, do it for that reason, then move on.
Imagine You’re Never Alone
Shame is the most powerful emotion, it’s been said. Slacking off is easy when you’ve no one to answer to but yourself, but when you imagine that someone – especially someone you’d hate to disappoint – is watching you it becomes much less appealing. Are your parents paying for your education? If so, imagine what they’d say. Do you have an academic rival? S/he’s probably hard at work right now: you better get to it.
*Though I do re-read old posts sometimes. Hi, future me!