It’s a Tuesday morning, and I lie awake as my third snooze alarm goes off. It’s 9:08 a.m. and my class starts at 10 a.m., so I rush to eat breakfast, shower and get ready. I’m five minutes late, so I slide into the nearest seat. As my professor lectures, I fade in and out because I’m preparing questions for an interview at one o’clock in the afternoon. As the lecture finishes I place my notebook with just three new bullet points in my backpack and power walk to my next class. I grab an open seat. This class has chargers, so I quickly slide my laptop out and begin answering e-mails. Class has begun, and I alternate between responding to e-mails and listening to lecture. As I finish the fourth e-mail, class ends, and I hurry to Lorch Hall where I’m scheduled to gather some information for a newsletter writing job. The interview finishes, and I walk to the UGLi. I have exactly one hour, and I need to study because I have an exam the next day. After studying, I make my way to office hours and spend the next two hours absorbing information and asking questions for my exam the next day. Now, it’s five o’clock. I can’t spend any more money eating out, so I rush home to eat dinner before my meeting for another job at 6 p.m. Once I’m done, I realize walking will cause me to be late, so I drive instead. As I’m driving I put a song from my iPhone to play. I remember when I loved this song during middle school — a time where I could allocate two hours to lying in bed and listening to music. I get to my meeting a minute before it starts. It concludes at 8 o’clock, and I head to the nearest place to study for four hours. At 12 a.m. I’m too tired to productively review material, so I drive home and go to sleep.

After two months straight of this business, I realize that I need a change.

It’s now a Sunday morning, and I try to finish all of my work and meetings. It’s 11 o’clock at night when I finish, and I reward myself with time off. I sprawl out on my bed and open Spotify, doing nothing and thinking nothing and being nothing for two hours. In these moments I’m reminded that I’m not a robot. I’m a human, and I can’t spend my entire life checking things off my “to do” list. And though I have an exam, two writing assignments, a column, work for one job, side projects for the other job and general homework to do the following week, doing something that I love for myself grounds me in perspective. Everything will get done. Like it always has. Like it always will.

Scheduling time for myself has quickly become a necessity due to business this semester. It isn’t unproductive. It isn’t selfish. It isn’t wasting time. If I’m not giving myself time to recover, I’m bound to break down from the infinite forces pulling me in every direction. I need it — both to feel better and remind myself that I’m a human, not a robot.

The idea of making time for yourself is also scientifically backed. Getting more sleep, napping during the day and taking time away from work are all associated with increased productivity. Evidence shows that we’re most productive when we spend no more than 90 minutes on a specific activity. If you don’t have time in your day to get everything done, sometimes the best solution is to spend less time doing things. You’ll be more productive in the long run.

It’s tough on this campus. We all have student organizations, clubs, jobs, classes and responsibilities laying more commitments on us than ever before. But the solution isn’t to always work more. Sometimes, taking time to yourself allows you to get more done in a shorter time.

After you finish this paragraph, get out your planner and make time for yourself; trust me, you need it.

Michael Schramm can be reached at mschramm@umich.edu.

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