19 April 2010


Sometime last night I realized that this week was actually gonna be pretty busy. I looked at my calendar and saw that instead of two tests as I'd previously thought, I had four: two tomorrow and one each on Thursday and Friday. After the initial moment of predictable panic, I settled down and became grateful that the exams were at least somewhat spread out over the week, allowing me some respite in between them.

An excerpt from this article on Zen Habits touches on my reactions to a busy day/week:
You are in the middle of your day today, and you’re caught up in the sandstorm of thoughts, feelings, to-dos, meetings, readings, and communications of this day.

Pause. Breathe. Let all of that fade.

Now focus on doing one thing, right now. Just choose one thing, and clear away all other distractions. Seriously, clear it all away.
Admittedly this is not that easy to do if your entire week is filled with to-do lists for each day, but focusing on the task at hand is essential for me if I want to stay sane -- especially now that the semester is drawing to a close and so many things have to be wrapped up and attended to.

Zen rock garden

The trick is to let everything else go and focus on the doing of the current task, which in this case is cracking open my notes/textbooks and re-absorbing the material I've learned over the last couple of weeks in four different subjects. A bit more complex than it sounds; I often find myself thinking about Rad Bio when I have my CVIT notes spread out and vice versa. The distraction of being at home is also more than I can handle on many nights, hence my frequent trips to Memorial Union for a few hours of (attempted nightly) study.

I find that to-do lists do help a lot; I manage my tasks and events for the week/month on Rainlendar, a nice little calendar app that sits on top of my laptop wallpaper. I'm not the most organized person by nature, so having a constant reminder of what needs to be accomplished has been invaluable. It helps me focus on individual tasks, and I get great satisfaction when they disappear from the list.

Even with this time-management tool, the biggest challenge for me is really being able to focus on one thing at a time without letting my mind become distracted by other obligations. But no one ever said that achieving Zen would be easy, did they?

Ommmmmmmmmm. Wish me luck.

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