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Since around the last week of January, right when the semester started (for new readers, I'm a grad student), I have just felt...off. As in, not myself. Out-of-sorts. I have had a routine that has worked for me for years and years: wake up early, eat breakfast and drink coffee, take a shower, get ready, and go!
I am (er, I have been) a morning person - my natural rhythm, it seems, is to go to bed early - usually between 9:00 and 10:00 - and wake up early - usually around 5:00 or 5:30. I just feel better when I stick to that rhythm. But since starting grad school, my entire schedule has changed. Most of my classes are in the evening - 6:30 - 9:15 p.m. - and since my drive from school to home is 40 minutes, I don't get home until almost 10:00 some nights. Needless to say, I'm not ready to jump into bed and fall asleep then, so I stay up until midnight or so, and then there is no way I'm going to wake up at 5:00 the next morning! So I sleep later...and later... and the next thing I know, its 9:30 a.m., and I feel like I've wasted precious hours of my day. Its a vicious cycle - sleep later, stay awake later.... on and on until I've re-shaped my entire sleep/wake cycle. And it has been throwing me off! I feel tired and lethargic throughout the day. Motivation? Yeah, right! I just want to sit quietly and relax!
Time management has been another big problem for me. You see, I've always been a procrastinator. I was the girl in high school who put everything off until the last minute, then scrambled to get it done and still got an A. I've always been like that. It just works for me. I know that I can get my work done, it will be on time, and it will be done well. My "system" has always served me well - until now. Grad school is supposed to be so much more difficult than undergrad.... but for me, its actually easier. I have literally HALF as many classes - only 3 grad classes, as opposed to the 6 I would normally schedule as an undergrad) - which means I have wayyyy more down-time, and lots of time to get assignments done. So what do I do? Procrastinate! And then everything piles up, and I start feeling guilty for "wasting" my free days. My work still gets done, on time and done well, but... its the guilty feeling that bothers me.
Of course I'm NOT wasting any time...I just feel like I am because I don't do anything all that interesting on my free days.... mostly I just relax and take it easy (see above paragraph). Then I'm left with one or two days each week that require some scrambling to get everything done.... the more scrambling I do on those days, the more relaxing I want to do on my free days, and again, its a vicious cycle.
Needless to say, I desperately need to break out of these cycles! I've been trying to manage my time a little better, brainstorming up ways to kick these bad habits, and I think I've come up with some solutions. And I don't think my problem is unique to students: I'm sure that people in all stages of life probably go through the same, or similar, funks. Right?
So, here are some little steps that I'm going to be taking to try to
get out of my rut: