How priorities maintained my sanity.

When I graduated undergrad, I could have sworn I knew everything there was to know....haha....oh deluded thinking. So as you might have surmised from that sentence I'm learning new things, which I suppose shouldn't have been that much a surprise for me as that's what happens when you go to school. You learn.
But in this case I'm re-learning things.
Time management is a tough thing to nail down and they say the older you are the easier it is or the more you've learned to manage your time. Well, that's wrong, at least in my case. Time management is much easier to mange when you only have work, dinner, and a clean house to worry about (I'm speaking as a single person)...throw in about 120 pages of reading a week, 10 hours of class, 4 hours of research, about 2 papers every 2 weeks or so, some students that are having a crises, family, and then maintaining your health and sanity..and then things start to collide. Time management suddenly isn't so manageable without the time to manage it.
So I've recently come to terms with it...and by that I mean within the past 2 days. I have to start my day at 6 every morning....I have to start it with devotional time...then biking or some form of exercise for at least an hour...then reading for about 2-3 hours...then work...then maybe write half a page of my paper...then class till 10 at night. I get home at about 10:30, get ready for bed, try to read some more and then give in to my tired eyes and pass out. The life of a graduate is so exciting...non-stop nail-biting fun.
Now I could, like many of my peers, just succumb to the work load and make school my life, but then when would I be living? Never. And when would I be able to retain my sanity? Never. So after I had a meltdown of sorts, which may have involved tears and proclamations of "I can't do this anymore!", I decided to make a list of my priorities and manage my time from that. That saved my sanity.
God is pretty important to me. So I gave Him first dibs, which is why I start my day with Him.
Health is pretty important too...I figured that if I got my master's but died shortly after getting my degree (ie. the very next day after getting my diploma I died from the strenuous stress) then getting that degree wouldn't have helped the quality of my life by all that much. So that's second.
School is third. Now I struggled with making family, friends, significant other, etc. take this place, but I have come to realize that if I did that I would never be able to get what I need to get done, done. Now realizing I have placed school before them, I'm going to do something selfish. Yep, brace yourselves. I am going to say this.....I will not, cannot get through school without them and their support. I would have dropped out of the program the very first day if it wasn't for my mom. So while I selfishly need their support/love/their "you can do it" attitudes they go fourth on my list. (gasp!) I know.
So while the significant people in my life come fourth, that's not to say if they needed me I wouldn't go because I have a journal to read. No I would go. In a heartbeat. But things like family Sunday dinners, movie nights, and neighborhood walks are excised from my social life. So maybe what I'm trying to say is my social life comes fourth. I could go on, but I think my point is made.
Everything else after that falls under the 'Core Four' as I like to call it. I mean I could add more and diagram it and make pie charts and what not, but I think my head would explode. So I left it nice and simple and put them on a post-it note by my bed to remind me.
So far, I have found comfort in it. Do I get all my schoolwork done? Not all the time. But was my time spent on things that were priorities? So far, it has always been a yes. Grad school I have found (in my one month of expertise I have had in it) will give you as much as they can dish out. For instance, in one of my classes Rhetorical Criticism, my professor had us read 4 articles, which amounted to almost 70 pages. I should mention this reading is no Stephanie Meyer reading. I sometimes have to re-read a sentence 3 times to be sure I understand it (sub-note in that: Journals and articles are littered with run-on sentences, it's appalling). And it takes me, on average 3-5 minutes to get through a page.....let me do the math for you: 5 minutes x 70=350......350/60 minutes=5.8333...hours. Not including the paper I had to work on for that class...or homework from any of my other classes. But any way I got carried away in my tirade...he had us read these articles and discussed only two of them in class. Only 2 articles. I wanted to butcher someone that day.
So what I have come to discover is that it's not worth slaving away till 2 in the morning to read every little thing I am given. I need to take care of what is really important and do the best I can, but if I can't do it all, I can't do it all. Ryan Miller (@l985)