Slow down!: What college has taught me about maintaining a balanced life in an accelerated time. 6 Comments


I’m learning to pace myself. College has been a time of revelation and realization for me, and of all that I have learned so far, slowing things down and enjoying the moment has been one of the most important lessons.

Ever since I was young, I’ve had visions of the grandeur for my future. Along with this, hard work has become the mandate of my life. I suppose I don’t know why I want to work so hard or why I enjoy being busy. Perhaps it is the consequence of the first child syndrome, whereby the first child is more socially conscious and power driven. The point is, I have always focused on where I want to go, rarely looking around at where I am in the moment.

My mother always says…

“Life is too short, so stop worrying!” (Thanks mom).

Ferris Bueller always says…

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” (Thanks 80’s movies).

Unfortunately, I am stubborn and it has been hard to come around to both of these mantras. Much to my chagrin, the words ring true and it is easy to burn yourself out and miss all the niceties of life if you are constantly moving.

So take a deep breath with me and let off the throttle for a second, won’t you?

Here are some of the things I’ve worked on to balance my life:

Plan out your time

Benjamin Franklin lived by what he considered a perfect day; 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play, and 8 hours of sleep. The main idea is that you need balance!

Work:

The easiest way to use your time efficiently is to have a clear focus on what you need to accomplish. There is a big difference between keeping yourself busy and actually working to complete something. Take a few minutes to write out your goals for the day and try to adhere to your outline. This allows you to concentrate on the most important tasks at hand and you can congratulate yourself every time you check something off your list.

Additionally, you can split up your working time by taking 5 – 10 minute breaks every hour. There are several benefits to this: it allows you to clear your head, so you can step back and look at the problem with new insight, and also it can rejuvenate your spirit to continue tackling the work. Once finished, know that this was time well spent.

Play:

It’s ok to relax, really! An important practice is learning how to forgive yourself. Today, so many people get wrapped up in their work that they actually feel bad when they aren’t busy. The idea of forgiveness applies to many aspects in life, but allow yourself to take a break by understanding it is a necessary part of life.

Have things in your life that you enjoy doing. Find your own personal way to relax, whether you enjoy gardening, meditating, reading, etc. it is vital to have an escape of some sort. Personally, I go running through the city. I get to see a lot of things I wouldn’t normally encounter and it is one of the best ways to learn about the area (including the hidden gems).

Sleep:

This one is fairly self-explanatory, you need to sleep! Everyone requires a different amount of sleep to be fully functional, but it is recommended to get about 8 hours. The benefits include everything from repairing the body to boosting the immune system to improving cognitive function! Enough said.

Enjoy life!

By having a more balanced life you will find that you won’t be concentrating solely on work all the time. Planning your time and allowing yourself to relax lets you to put things into perspective; it’s not necessary to be perpetually busy. Now go outside and smell the roses!

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Written by Aaron Gerry for The Talent Buzz blog post contest.  Aaron is a Middler at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. He is also a writer for CollegeMogul. Feel free to tweet @aarongerry!

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Sunday, March 1st, 2009