Why being busy doesn’t always work: the start of my second year at university

I absolutely love being busy. I adore feeling like I’m accomplishing things and being productive rather than spending time doing things that I feel are meaningless. I feel more fulfilled this way and as though I really value how every part of the day can be used to its fullest potential, whether this is in relation to academic work or personal projects.

My mum always says (in relation to my grandad), ‘if you want something done, ask a busy man to do it,’. The philosophy here is that someone who is managing a lot of things is the person most likely to accomplish a task, as they are better skilled to manage time and prioritse the things they want to achieve. I adopted this philosophy at the beginning of my second year, deciding that I wanted to do everything I was interested in (unrealistic, huh? Trying telling past me that). The way I thought this would best be accomplished was by giving myself so much to do that I couldn’t be lazy. My to-do list would force me into using my time wisely, because otherwise I’d be missing deadlines or letting people down (again, ridiculous).

This system worked for a while, but then it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t leaving myself time to breathe. I got sick a couple of times in the semester, and a simple cold stretched out over weeks because I only allowed myself one day off to recover. Slowly, things started to slip, and I fell behind in reading for university. I wasn’t leaving myself time to do anything I enjoyed simply for the pleasure of it. Every book I was reading was for a class, or because I’d promised to review it for something, and that pressure poked at my enjoyment of what I was reading. I barely wrote anything that wasn’t academic, and this blog became completely forgotten.

I don’t want it to sound like I had a bad semester, because the majority of it was fantastic, and I wouldn’t change anything. However, I’ve definitely learnt the lesson of not taking on more than I can handle. I’ve cut back on my shifts at my university job and give a lot more consideration to the things that I say yes to, and the commitment which they will require. I like to think I’m getting better at it.

I guess all of this is a really long-winded way of explaining why I haven’t posted on this blog in months. That really sucks, because I feel like this blog was really improving my writing, in relation to books and just how I expressed my ideas in general. I loved writing this blog, and I had left myself absolutely no time to do that. I’m not making any promises, because I’ve decided that 2019 is about trying to improve things, and not having harsh, black and white goals, but I’d really like to post once a week on this blog. I did a lot of writing over my Christmas holiday so have a few posts scheduled for the rest of the Spring semester, as well as a list of ideas I can work on to fill the weeks in between. Like I said, no promises, but to be honest I’d be happy just posting more than I have been.

Other than learning this huge lesson, I did really enjoy my first semester of my second year at university. I’m enjoying my course more than ever, and I’m really passionate about all of the projects that I’m part of, a couple of which I will be writing blog posts about! I’ve had some rough spots in relation to my mental health and personal life, but the support I need for this is slowly shifting into place, and I feel a lot more confident about controlling my own well-being. I’m particularly looking forward to my modules for the upcoming semester. I think I’m going to post a little TBR of the novels we’re reading this semester and see if any of you guys have read them!

This post ended up longer and more rambly than I anticipated, but I’m really glad to be back, and also happy that I learnt such a valuable lesson last semester. Hopefully I’ll be popping into your WordPress reader or inbox with a bit more regularity! Thank you for reading – if you’d like to see more from me please do follow the blog, or to chat with me in between posts check out my social media linked above! I hope you come back and read more sometime.

– hatterell

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