MT in the City: Not Enough Hours In The Day?

At some point in your life, I’m sure you’ve felt like 24 hours just wasn’t enough time for you to accomplish everything you had to get done. For some of you (me included), this feeling occurs multiple times per week. Sure, maybe we could get everything done within a 24-hour period, but that would mean forfeiting sleep and that just isn’t okay. Coffee can only do so much. In order to avoid sleepless nights and caffeine overdoses, I want to welcome us all to the world of time management.

I used to think I had really great time management skills until I moved to New York to study musical theater. Reality check: my time management skills are mediocre at best. Doing my best in school, getting all my homework done, attending rehearsals, eating healthy, maintaining a social life, and sleeping for the recommended 8 hours can be extremely difficult let alone seemingly impossible. Many times, I feel like I have to half-ass everything in order to get anything done. And we all know that half-assing is any perfectionist’s nightmare. There has to be a way for theater students to get everything done to the best of our abilities without going insane and/or becoming zombies from total lack of sleep.

I’ve come to find that being a musical theater nerd as well as an avid socializer can be a recipe for disaster. Since being a successful musical theater student is my number one priority, maintaining a social life outside of my musical theater conservatory can be quite the challenge – especially for someone who is completely new to New York City. The city is an absolutely incredible place, always full of opportunities and new experiences that are calling my name. Being the adventurous soul that I am, I try to take advantage of every single opportunity that I possibly can. However, I need to learn to prioritize and decide what is most important to me. I need to find a healthy balance between being a successful MT student and enjoying my time here in the most amazing city in the world. If you are struggling with similar issues, here are some tips on how to (hopefully) achieve this healthy balance:

  1. 8 hours of sleep EACH NIGHT. Not 8 hours of sleep total throughout the week. I know there are some crazy people out there who can function on 3 hours of sleep per night with the help of lots of coffee. Sadly, I am not one of those people. My mom is one of those people and I’m still pissed off I didn’t inherit that gene. With 8 hours of sleep, I am able to fully function and stay energized throughout the day. And I don’t even need coffee! I truly believe that allotting for ample sleep time will solve so many time management issues. I know I’m going to try to make this happen on weeknights.
  2. Subway Homework. Basically, take advantage of your commute and be productive. I can honestly say I really never thought to do homework on the train until one of my teachers suggested it. I think of the train ride to and from school as my time to relax. But is it really possible to relax during rush hour when the trains are as crowded as Disneyworld and people are breathing on you? Not really. I’d rather do as much work as I can during my commute so I can actually relax when I get home or have time to grab dinner with a friend.

    Time management: do your homework on the subway.

    Pretty much this, if newspapers were class readings.
    (HenrikRomby on Wikipedia / CC2.5).

  3. Pre-Planning. If you know of a social event coming up that you don’t want to miss, make it happen. Finish your work ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about deadlines or due dates when you go out because everything is already done! My roommate’s 21st birthday celebration was this past Wednesday, so I forced myself to do extra homework on Monday and Tuesday so I could celebrate her birthday without feeling guilty. The feeling of guilt when you are out having fun and you know you shouldn’t be is the absolute worst. Avoid it at all costs.

There you go. Of course, managing your time effectively is easier said than done. I am still working on it myself. But, I really hope I can take my own advice and put these tips into action. Theater students tend to be adventurous people who genuinely want to live life to the fullest. I am one of these people and tend to take on too many projects because I feel invincible. With so many things on my plate, I am unable to put 100% of myself into anything. However, I sincerely believe that improving my time management skills will help me navigate life more smoothly and successfully. And who knows? Maybe it’ll seem like there ARE enough hours in the day for once.

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