The Strategic Art of Multitasking

By Laurel Stone

One of my biggest fears when faced with an online-only schedule was my potential inability to stay on top of all of my school work. I need to keep all of the various deadlines for five classes straight, while balancing two jobs in the mix. As a devout procrastinator for all of high school, and my first couple years of college, I feared this semester would be the end of me.

In order to preserve my mental sanity for as long as possible, I told myself this year would be different. I’d complete assignments well before their due dates and keep an organized planner. 

As optimistic as I was about this new way of life, deep down I never expected it to actually stick. No one was more surprised than myself to discover I actually plan to stick with my new organizational method for at least the remainder of this semester, if not for future ones as well.  

I have used a planner prior to this semester, but not to the extent to which I use it now. I include all assignments, tests, quizzes and projects for all of my class; all of which are color coded to keep my large assortment of English and writing classes straight. I admit this process takes time, but, in my opinion, the results are well worth the extra several minutes it takes to organize it. It allows me to plan out my week in advance so I never miss any assignments or have  an unanticipated “pop” quiz. 

At the beginning of each week I make a mental note of the days I work and the days which I have assignments due. On the days I don’t work, I try to dedicate them to homework. I know I won’t want to work for hours in a restaurant just to return home and have to do more work. As much as I’d prefer to lounge around on my days off and do absolutely nothing, I force myself to think of the future me, and how much less I would prefer to be doing homework after working as opposed to putting on fuzzy pajamas and watching a show before being welcomed into my loving bed. 

Keeping myself organized gives me peace of mind. I no longer lie in bed at night unable to sleep, sorting through the assignments filed away nowhere besides my own mind, reassuring myself that everything is completed. No longer do I have to set my alarm for an absurdly early hour of the morning to complete an assignment I didn’t realize was due until after midnight the night before it must be submitted. I do not feel guilt nor pressure when I take time to relax, for I know I did what needed done and as a result deserve a peaceful mental break. 

My advice to you, fellow Penguins: do your work when it comes to mind. Don’t save it until the last minute simply because you don’t feel like doing it. Although you may feel the same sense of thrill and pride as I once did at achieving the impossible and completing an assignment at the very last minute, until the final moment of submission, those assignments will still reside somewhere in your mind, adding a small sense of urgency to whatever else it is you may be doing. Little puts me more at ease than knowing I can enjoy a quiet night at home with absolutely no deadlines in my near future, and I hope you can all achieve this level of peace and contentedness.