Monday, October 5, 2015

Time Management: an Exercise in Futility

Managing time is an art. It takes skill, organization, and time in and of itself. It can make or break success. This is especially true in law school. It has been stressed so strongly to my fellow 1L-ers and me, I can almost guarantee, since before we even began our law school career. I have always been someone who carries around a planner with a complete account of what is coming up. This has usually consisted solely of doctor appointments for my family, important dates like birthdays, and different possible events that are going on in our community that may be of interest to us. I learned quickly that the small planner I was used to carrying would not be sufficient for my current responsibilities and staying sane keeping organized. I am now that person who has a total of two paper calendars, a schedule book, my Google calendar, and whiteboard calendar going concurrently in order to keep track of everything.

I have used my Google calendar for a couple years now in order to keep track of my husband's work schedule, due dates for bills with their amounts (or for some approximate amounts), payday, birthdays, and with a few calendars synced from outside sources (Patriots schedule being one). I use this as my personal calendar so I can make plans with others without having conflicts with work/school/appt schedules with notifications for things upcoming right in my pocket. It has been a life saver for my sanity, my organization, and helps me avoid double booking.

I then still used a small planner in my purse that allows me to mark days at a glance that are unavailable for further plans. It is a quick reference when scheduling things, planning things for the future, but doesn't really provide too much detail. I simply cross off days that are completely unavailable and mark the calendar accordingly for those days that are partially unavailable. I then have a larger calendar that has every one's schedule written out with more detail, such as times and places. This calendar is in my family binder that is supposed to have has all of our family emergency information, menu plans, and other odds and ends to keep our household organized.

My schedule book is ONLY for my school stuff. I use it to write out what assignments I need to do, when they are due, what reading is required for the week, and what will be required in class (i.e. interim exams, essays) for each class and for each day of the week. As I complete things, there is a spot to mark them off as complete. This book is not the most ideal structure, but it is better than having to reference my syllabi for each class everyday. This helps me keep things in one spot as well as be thorough.

Lastly, our whiteboard calendar, which I do a fabulous decent (ok) terrible job of keeping current, serves as a spot for my husband to reference as to what is upcoming and where we are and are not free. This helps when our busy schedules don't allow for the amount of time we are used to spending together. Instead of having to brief each other on the upcoming events in our lives during the time when can just spend together talking about everything else. I also helps if we forget to communicate different events as well. It serves as a reminder for everyone (or at least the two of us that can read in the house). My goal is to get a better "central hub" set up for our family because we are still constantly running around like chickens with out heads cut off when we are trying to get out of the door on time.

Now, by reading all of the above information, you'd think that my time management skills are pretty squared away. WRONG! Oh so very wrong. No amount of calendars and written down schedules could have ever prepared me for what time management actually is. Law school is a very intricate being with so many working parts. Reading. Briefs. Outlines. Comprehending the material. Current events. Essays. Exams (even the ungraded interim ones I have been working through this past week). Student organizations. Friends (because let's face it, this SAHM has been lacing those for the last few years). Professors' habits/no-nos/pet peeves/words they dislike or like/expectations. Remembering that all this will lead up to a huge 3 day test to decide if all the time spent studying actually worked. Nothing can prepare a person for that. One of my peers, Kyle, and I were talking about how we truly feel as if we are not even treading water at this point but instead are getting opportunities to gasp for air before sinking under the immense amount of work that is commonplace in law school. So with that, I am going to take my big breath and dive headfirst into my workload.

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