I wish to start this post off by acknowledging that I actually don’t have that much on my daily schedule, at least compared to many others my age. Aside from duties at work and academic assignments, there really isn’t anything else that I have to worry about on a regular basis. Indeed, for the most part, the only two big responsibilities that require my attention are schoolwork and my current job. Therefore, I usually have a huge amount of free time on my hands.
Despite this fact, I often find it very difficult to accomplish all the things I want to accomplish throughout the day. For a number of reasons (that I will mention later), it feels like I hardly ever have the right amount of time to get enough work done. Indeed, even though I probably have a lot more free time than most other people, managing my time efficiently is still a major challenge for me.
In last week’s post, “What do I do? What ‘should’ I do,” I said how I sometimes get “stuck” because I cannot decide what to do when I have so much to worry about at once. One of the main reasons for this, I explained, was that I have trouble acquiring sufficient time to complete all of the tasks that I would like to complete. As I promised in that post, I will now go into more detail explaining what this problem entails, including why it exists.
To give a reliable summary of the issue: when I’m given a large number of school assignments, personal responsibilities, or casually suggested activities to do, I will unlikely be able to secure the right amount of time to execute a lot of these tasks in a single day. Put much more simply, there just isn’t enough hours in a day to for me to accomplish an amount of work that I can be satisfied with. As a result, what I can get done that day is fairly limited, and I’m frequently disappointed with how little I was able to complete. This is made much worse when I notice that others around me are getting a lot more done than I am, including fellow students, friends, and family members.
There are multiple factors that contribute to this time management problem, some of which have been touched upon in previous blog posts. Firstly, I am only able to be fully productive for about 9-10 hours during the day because I have to take medication in order to be stay moderately focused as well as disciplined. The meds take about an hour to take effect in my body, and they wear off about 9 or 10 after I take them. This means that I cannot be at all productive in the early morning or in the evening; so late-night studying or reading is not for me.
Secondly, even while the medications are active in my body, I still have a lot of difficulty concentrating on the tasks that I need to be engaged in. I can’t help but be continuously distracted by my own thoughts about miscellaneous topics and by my obsessions with things like rock music, Nintendo games, and political controversies. As much as I try not to, I will inevitably waste an hour or more of my time lost in thought or reading “triggering” comments online (See “My Aspie obsessions over the years”).
Thirdly, there are a number tasks that take slightly longer for me to complete than they do for most people. I’m not sure if this is mostly due to my Asperger Syndrome, my Attention Deficit Disorder, or something else, but I normally require an extra amount of time to finish certain activities, such as reading, studying, exam-taking, cleaning, waking up in the morning, making decisions, and recovering from a workout.
Fourthly, if I have so many responsibilities to tackle at once, then, as explained in my previous post, I will become frozen with anxiety and worry myself to death. This, obviously, takes away a massive chunk of time that could be used to complete some of the tasks on my to-do list, thus adding more to my severe frustration. So this means that my problems with knowing what I should do in these situations and my problems with time management are reciprocal; they each cause the other issue to get worse and worse.
This is all essentially why my daily schedule, from an objective point of view, does not include a lot of responsibilities or hobbies. Just like with everything else, if I was able to be productive for much longer, stay more focused on my tasks, and get things done slightly faster, then time management wouldn’t so much of a problem. I could then occupy myself with far more productive activities, from volunteering at a local animal shelter to finishing the video games that I bought 3 months ago. Plus, I wouldn’t have to worry about being so incredibly stressed out whenever I have numerous responsibilities at once. As always, I hope that as time goes on, I will get slightly better at managing my daily schedule, allowing me to feel much more productive as a person.