It’s 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside, windy and snowing. You’re in bed, comfortably protected under your thick covers. As you open your eyes, you suddenly jump out of bed as you remember that you forgot to set your alarm last night and notice that the sun is already out. You grab your phone and all you see is, “SATURDAY.”
A big sigh of relief. You don’t have to scramble to get ready this morning, because NO SCHOOL ON SATURDAY.
But it’s also decision time. Go back to bed, or get started with your day?
Fit in the best, or stand out the most
Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, said when he got into Princeton that it was a matter of fitting in the best, or standing out the most. With his low SAT scores, he elected to go with the latter and told a great story in his mindblowing personal statement. With the crazy number of applications that universities get (“here we go, anooother valedictorian…BORING”), standing out is the smarter way to go for most people.
The best time to work is when nobody else is working
These are the dog days of the school year. It’s second semester, the weather sucks, you’re just waiting on your college admissions decisions, and your friends are counting down the days until graduation and planning summer getaways. Those are all good reasons why you may not feel like doing squat right now.
And that is exactly why this is the best time to buckle down and get back to work. Yes, you read that right. This is the perfect opportunity to separate yourself from the pack. Most people like the idea of being hardworking without actually being truly hardworking. Most are too lazy to execute; they only want to talk about their aspirations without taking action. Just tally up all the hours in a week you spend on social media, watching TV series, and browsing the web, and you’ll see.
It’s hard to separate yourself Monday through Friday during school hours, because everyone is doing some semblance of work during that time. It’s when everyone else is screwing around, consuming their time like a Krispy Kreme doughnut instead of investing it in themselves—that is the time to make your move.
What should you be doing differently then?
Spend time on things that pay off. Use your time to invest in yourself. Work to become someone, then humbly brag all about it on your college applications.
Even small extra efforts, maintained over a long period of time, lead to huge improvements. While people are watching The Big Bang Theory (whatever that’s about), go make new friends at the park, go check out the nonfiction section of Barnes & Noble, or sign up for Duolingo and learn a language. The point is to invest time in yourself, not consume it.
Protecting the earth’s resources and fighting climate change has dominated headlines the past few years, but we don’t talk enough about how we are wasting our most valuable (by far) non-renewable resource: our time. How are you spending yours?