Finding perspective and balance for your 24/7 and 4 questions.
Wake up. Go to work. Rush out. Head to class. Go home. Do homework. Sleep. Repeat.
This is what my schedule looked like for three years while I was completing my Bachelor’s Degree at New York University.
A few years ago I threw away the comfortable life I had at home and moved to the Big Apple with $200 and a suitcase full of clothes and determination. I was 20 years old and was convinced that I needed to be in the city in order to reach my goals.
While I waited for my acceptance letter I started working. I got my first real job at Vogue as a freelancer and was a working 40-hour week for the first time. Coming home at night I’d sometimes find myself too drained to do much else, let alone work on projects that I was passionate about. At the time I had no idea that that was just a warm up for the years that were about to come.
Everyone who has ever been to Manhattan knows that it is not a cheap place to live, and no group of people know this as well as students. In order to support myself while completing my degree I had to work a full-time job as well. NYU’s School of Professional Studies allowed me to take night classes, which therefore allowed me to work full time.
From 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. I worked at a magazine as an editorial assistant, from 6:20 p.m. – 8:50 p.m. I was in class, and if I had enough energy I’d go home and do school work, but mostly I saved that for the weekends. On top of that I was a babysitter, yoga 3 times a week, and still made time for my friends.
Impeccable time management. And coffee.
In the end it all came down to planning. If I had to material to read for class I’d do it on the subway. It took me 40 minutes to get to work in the mornings, and took 30 minutes to get home from school, so just during my transportation time I could get in almost 6 hours of reading.
I’d do more schoolwork when I put the kids I babysat to bed.
Instead of going out to a party with friends for a few hours, I’d used that time to sleep and then catch up with them over a lunch or dinner.
And I realized that without physical movement I’d get reckless, so I began to practice yoga in the mornings before heading out to work. It not only got fresh blood flowing through the body, but yoga helped calm my mind as well before the hectic day ahead of me.
Those were three rigorous years of my life where I rarely allowed myself to slack off. I knew that if I wanted to advance in my professional career that I would need a college degree, so I kept planning the days and sticking to my schedules.
The discipline has transferred into my professional life, but I’ve found that the biggest benefit of all has been to my personal growth. Creating a plan and sticking to it is not only stimulating, but I believe that it necessary in order to help us push ourselves along the road of self-discovery and evolvement.
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