I wonder sometimes if I’m merely lying to myself and trying to justify my own laziness, willingness to procrastinate, and ease of distraction by clouding it with the idea of “balance.” At some point everyone needs to just buckle down and work, and I no longer have the ability to do nothing other than read, study, and write for 10 straight hours. There was a point in college and grad school when that was a regular part of my routine (typically because I had done none of the work I had needed to prior to the night before a paper was due); writing my Masters thesis was a process of 4 straight days of little but work and sleep.
There is a distinct certainty to the need for it again once I begin working. But as of now, what I’m really capable of is drips and drabs of concentration, interspersed amongst a near-litany of youtube videos, NYTimes articles, and the other distraction detritus of a modern connected lifestyle. As such, I’m starting work earlier, but feeling even more guilty about how much time I spend “not working.” I worry that this habit is going to come back to bite me in the ass, and I wonder if my disappointing performance grade-wise last semester was a result of my relative inaction in comparison to what (I assume) were my colleagues’ more focused and intensive efforts in preparing themselves for the exams.
And yet I’m also not really sure how much more utility I would get out of working longer. I felt comfortable and as confident as I was ever going to be going into those exams: I believe my failures were in relation to the way I chose to approach my responses, and not the thematic or legal content itself (I have a sneaking, as-yet-unconfirmed suspicion that I should have done more in the way of presenting both sides of the issue and engaging in back-and-forth argumentation). Would 16 straight hours of study have helped with that? I doubt it. There were certainly issues I missed on every exam, but that is the way of things for all who take them. I wonder if what I need to be doing is studying better, not studying more.
And yet the anxiety remains…