– By Mary Rose Lunde
How do you manage life is a common question everyone tries to figure out at some point. Some people use schedules or to-do lists to figure out what needs to be done, and to keep track of life events. Others have planners or write things down on their hands to keep track. No matter how you try to manage life, understanding that there are certain priorities that need to be taken seriously is a first step to going through life without feeling like you’re sinking.
There’s a saying in my campus ministry that in life you only have time for two out of three of the triangle of life. The triangle itself consists of three parts: social, work, and health (primarily sleep). Unfortunately for many people, particularly college students, it is hard to balance life. To succeed in one of the areas fully, the other two must be lower on the priorities list. Each of the three parts of the life triangle in itself consists of a variety of activities and necessities, such as sleep, communication, and homework. It is hard to figure out what to prioritize. Our desires may not be what is actually the best for us overall. We can desire to always be socializing, but then we wouldn’t be working — and that would cause us to have less success in the professional world.
It is a triangle. In geometry, triangles are made with three sides each touching each other. Triangles can only work if the sides meet. So if one of the sides is too long while the other two sides are too short, the triangle won’t work. This is what happens when a person prioritizes one of the sides of the triangle and the other two fall out of balance. The triangle will work; however, if two of the sides are the same and the third is smaller.
The most ideal situation is when all three of the sides are balanced. Because humans are not perfect, this is often thought impossible even though it isn’t. One of the best ways to make sure your life is balanced is by taking a step back, and looking at how you spend your time. If you are spending most of your time in one area above the others, it may be smart to figure out how to best adjust your schedule to accommodate all three of the sides of the triangle.
If you ever want to focus on one of the sides of the triangle such as health, the best way to do so is adjust your schedule and plan out time to do the activities that are associated with that side, in this case sleeping and perhaps exercising. It is important to figure out how to manage your schedule and prioritize certain specific activities in your life within the side of the triangle, while maintaining a balance.
Ultimately, your life is your life. And what I describe won’t make a difference unless you choose to make it so. If you are aiming for balance, take a step back. And above all, don’t get caught in the small stuff. Make sure your life is one you want to live, and you’ll succeed. Have your rest time, enjoy your responsibilities, and hang out with friends. Do what you need to do, and have a good life.
Mary Rose Lunde is a first year MA student in Literature at Virginia Tech. She is attempting to figure out how to balance her responsibilities as a student with her social life.