Sunday, November 6, 2011

Incorporating Structure Into Your Life

The past few weeks have been pretty brutal on me. Exams, papers and a lack of both studying and sleep put a huge toll on me physically and mentally, and I'm finally feeling like I'm back on track and in control of what I'm doing.

See, I did a pretty big over-haul today. First I made a list of homework that had to be done this week, and I resolved to actually do the homework even if it was only reading an article or chapter from the textbook (which I have learned the hard way is very important to do). Once I finished the homework list I added to it things that I wanted to make time for this week, such as TV shows, soccer games, and birthday dinners. I figured out which days this week I should be doing each thing in order to keep stress levels down and to stay on top of my course work. Then I added other non-priority items to the list that I wanted to do this week but could wait on, such as reading a few leisure books, exercising (and as I write this I realize I may need to move exercising into the priority column), movie watching, and, unfortunately, this blog.

As much as I'd love to be able to put a ton of effort into this blog, I'm realizing now that on my list, it's a pretty low priority. However, another thing I'm realizing is that as long as I manage my time wisely, I should still have plenty of time for adding in some of my non-priority items. It's just a matter of figuring out how much time I have for everything. I believe they call this time management, and it's definitely a useful skill to master.

Lastly, I added a column of things that I had coming up or things I wanted to do in the near future, such as school projects, papers, exams, and other things such as selling my football ticket for Thanksgiving Break (Cancun, here I come!).

Then here's the real kicker: I'm sticking to it. Of course, it hasn't yet been a day but I'm confident in my ability to stick to something once I set my mind to it. And the fact that my performance in school could be better is a pretty big motivator.

Other things I have done or will be doing to help myself be healthier physically and mentally are watching my diet and incorporating more vitamins and water into it and establishing better sleep habits, which for me involves two things I have trouble with: falling asleep and waking up.

I have trouble falling asleep because I tend to start thinking about everything before bed. This is no exaggeration. I will literally jump from topic to topic for sometimes hours, all the while becoming more and more frustrated with myself for not being able to stop thinking. There are a couple remedies I'm going to try, like taking melatonin before laying down and not over-stimulating my brain before sleep. There are different methods for everyone but I tend to find that TV and music nurtures my thinking habits instead of squashing them.

When I started to think about what I could possibly write about today, I realized that what I had done was develop a structure, a plan, and to set goals to accomplish, and this can be incorporated into your creative endeavors. The world is naturally chaotic, but many people, myself included, find that they are more productive when there is some sort of structure to what they are doing. Maybe there's a deadline, maybe it's a roadmap or an outline, or maybe it's just a to-do list. But it never hurts to be prepared, and establishing structure in your life only prepares you for what you want to accomplish in your life. So I encourage you to think about what you want from life or from your creative project and come up with a plan that suits your goals. It can only help you.

I plan to discuss this concept of "planning" more thoroughly tomorrow when I talk about my short film, "Dumb Luck." So check back in for more updates, and thanks for reading this whole thing! (It's a bit on the longer side, but I had a lot to say). Adios!

1 comment:

  1. I like it!!! You are so smart :) It seems with every stage of my life I've had to reformat a plan/structure, and we are doing this again now with Grant...You are so smart to recognize it and go for it! The I've done when trying to fall asleep amid chaos in my life is to count....count my slow deep breaths. You can't concentrate on all of your crazy thoughs while counting your breaths. It works like a charm. TV and computers right before bed rev me up as sounds no music...just peaceful quiet. As you start to feel more control over your life, you are going to sleep better as well. It does become a vicious cycle, stress leading to poor sleep leading to more stress...etc. Love you lots!!!