A balancing act

My students will complain about not having enough time to get their homework done. They don’t have enough time to study. They don’t have enough time to work on a project. How can they be expected to get everything done for one class, let alone seven? Add sports and clubs to the mix, maybe even a job. Then there are of course the ever important friends and social life. They are told to help around the house or watch their siblings. They want to spend some time watching TV or playing a video game. How can they fit all of this into their schedule? It’s just ridiculous what adults are expecting of these teens.

I hear these speeches multiple times a week, if not a day. I hear them and brush them off and think, “Learn to prioritize. Deal with it.” But I have come to realize that it doesn’t get any easier the older I get. All of the sudden I have things for work, things I want to get done at home, people I need to call, text, or send a quick message on Facebook too. I realize that I haven’t seen my family in days even though they live 7 minutes away. I forget to eat when I get caught up grading or lesson planning. I can have the best intentions of going to the gym, but let exhaustion carry my home instead of to the treadmill. The list goes on and on.

So what’s the difference between my students and I? I think the only major difference is that I have some say in what I must focus on. In my case, I was lucky enough to choose (fall into) my career and enjoy it. When I leave work, I decide how I spend my time, whether it’s cleaning, working out, spending time with friends, or relaxing by myself.

A major difference that I am focusing and developing in my life right now is prioritizing. It could be so easy to say yes to everything and find my life filled to the brim with meaningless things. I have been sitting down to focus on what my goals for myself are and what I need to do to make them happen. Then I look and decide, if it doesn’t fit into my goals, is it really necessary? This is by no means an easy process, but it’s nice to clear your schedule and just fill it with the things you love or need.

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