The Gustavian Weekly

How To Get Things Done | The Gustavian Weekly

By Andrea Broman Opinion Columnist | April 24, 2015 | Opinion

As students at a Liberal Arts college, it is basically guaranteed that you will end up taking a class that you do not love. Sometimes, in the efforts to broaden your horizons and gain experience in a variety of disciplines and fulfill the requirements of the college, we all find ourselves in that unfortunate place where we really don’t want to participate fully in the class. We don’t want to do the readings, we don’t want to do the homework, and sometimes it’s hard to even think about going to that class and having to sit through that lecture that you’re pretty sure you won’t enjoy – for whatever reason.

But we have to – to fulfill our obligations, to move towards graduation. So how do we do that? How do we make it through the doldrums and the work and the ever-taxing drain on our time and effort that is a class we don’t really want to be taking?

I try to do the things I enjoy in the breaks and the moments in between assignments so that I don’t feel like I’m in this constant cycle of things I don’t like.

In my opinion, looking towards the end – constantly thinking “There’s only four weeks left. That’s just a month left. I’m nearly done with this. I’m nearly outta here,” is not very helpful. It just gets you started on the daydream that is summer vacation or winter break. That kind of thinking takes you out of the moment, and stops you from noticing any of the things that you could enjoy about the class.

The important part is helping yourself not burn out on schoolwork and keeping yourself engaged in the best ways you can find.

No, what helps me the most is, taking things one day at a time instead. What do I need to get done or work on for tomorrow? Taking things one day at a time stops my brain from getting bogged down in due dates and the sheer amount of work that I have coming up.

Again, as I get to the end of the semester and things start to become a bit bigger – with final projects and essays and tests and such – this method of trying to not to become overwhelmed becomes impossible because everything is coming to a head at once and kind of overloading my schedule with important events. In that instance, I become the owner of the most extensive To-Do list which will give me a concrete list of the things that need to happen.

This mindset of mine makes it important for me to schedule out time to work on long projects in the middle of the semester and things in advance, because in the heat of the week I’m not necessarily looking ahead to that paper due next Friday or the presentation due next week.

Sometimes, when even this “one day at a time” mindset doesn’t work, I need to resort to other methods. When I just don’t want to do the assigned reading or I can’t get myself to work on the things I need to, I break it up. Instead of saying I have to read 50 pages of a novel for class, I tell myself I have to read a chapter right now and then I will give myself a break or a reward. I like to use this method a lot, because I find it’s very helpful to break things into smaller more manageable chunks.

Another important aspect of the way I get through difficult or uninteresting (to me) classes is to try to keep up on my hobbies. I try to do the things I enjoy in the breaks and the moments in between assignments so that I don’t feel like I’m in this constant cycle of things I don’t like. And to me, the easiest way to do this is to stop feeling like you have to be able to devote huge amounts of time to these activities.

Sometimes, in the efforts to broaden your horizons and gain experience in a variety of disciplines and fulfill the requirements of the college, we all find ourselves in that unfortunate place where we really don’t want to participate fully in the class.

One of the things I like to do the most is to read novels for fun, and I meet a lot of people who tell me that they just don’t have time to read and they wish they did.

The important part is that you are reading something that you enjoy – if you read one page in a sitting as a break from an assignment or fifty because you found some extra time on a Sunday afternoon – it’s not the numbers that matter. The important part is helping yourself not burn out on schoolwork and keeping yourself engaged in the best ways you can find.

-Andrea Broman