Are we really that busy?

Morning; alarm goes off. You stay in bed for a bit, checking your phone and scroll through your notifications. Suddenly you’re running half an hour late before you’ve even gotten out of bed.

By the time you drag yourself to the library it’s nearly lunch. So you see your pals for lunch in the cafe. Each of you say how busy you are, how snowed under you are, and how many commitments you have. Half an hour goes by and you say how you should get back to work, to start tackling all your deadlines and readings.

Half an hour later you actually leave, after you’ve grabbed a coffee to get you through the work. You’re finally back at your desk… better check your phone for notifications before you start work.

It’s dinner time and you’re going out tonight. You pack up your stuff, only having completed half your work, kicking yourself that you sat in bed so long this morning. Off home you go, put some food on and open up Netflix to watch while you have dinner and get ready to go out. It’s that girl’s birthday who you met twice in Fresher’s week and haven’t really spoken to since, but you have to go. It would be rude otherwise. You hit up pre-drinks, telling your friends how busy you are at the moment and they concur. Taxis are called and you hit up The Garage. 3am comes knocking and your tired and in desperate need of chips.

At 4am you fall on your bed and sleep it off until 12. Shit! How are you going to get that assignment done when you’re supposed to be going to *insert sports club event here* tonight?

Sound familiar? I don’t think I can remember the last time anyone ever told me they weren’t busy. If you’re holding down a part time job, doing all your assignments on time, have a steady relationship, you’re in a sports club or in a society and doing all your class readings. You are busy and I commend you for your valiant effort.

Let’s be honest though, not many of us can tick all those boxes. I never have and never will after five long years of study.

The problem is twofold; we have too many distractions and we place too much priority on silly things. If it weren’t for Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and the holy grail of time wasters – Youtube – I might actually be able to complete my readings for my master’s course without breaking a sweat. As it goes, I’ve become obsessed with conspiracy theory videos and love a good Political Bible meme.

It can be so difficult to turn off from these things for just an hour or so and really focus on the task at hand. Now, I’m not saying to throw your phone away and deprive yourself; but it’s probably time to put your phone on flight mode when that assignment is due tomorrow. We have to learn to concentrate more, to pull our minds away from staring at a screen doing nothing, to focus longer than a 15 second story or 140 characters.

Now to the second problem is doing things you don’t want to.

We’ve all been guilty of going to a party with a few close friends and sitting in the corner talking to no one and sipping a drink until the appropriate time we can leave after “showing face”.

Here’s a radical thought – don’t bother. Prioritise your time to spend it with those you most care about and enjoy spending time with. If you feel obliged to spend time with someone, you shouldn’t.

It sounds pretty harsh, but sometimes you have to put yourself first and do your work. And let’s be honest, they probably won’t notice too much on a night out. It isn’t a big of a deal as we think to miss out every now and then.

If you do these two things I promise you will be amazed at how much time you realise you actually have. And you can spend that time you’ve gained doing important stuff like watching Netflix… No wait!

By Kerrie Morton