My therapist and I spoke about the importance of time awareness and time expectations in regards to mental health. I learned that individuals who have depression and anxiety struggle with time awareness, surprise. surprise. Also, I learned how my lack of time awareness increased my anxiety and made committing to my responsibilities difficult.
One way my lack of time management has increased my anxiety was when it came to school assignments. I procrastinated by avoiding to start projects and assignments ahead of time because I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I had to do that I often put it off. In addition, I’d procrastinate by retyping the same assignment repeatedly until it was in the structure and style that I wanted it, even though there were many other things I had to do.
Second, my lack of time awareness affected my relationships with my professors. During my first try of student teaching, I often was late to seminar-a class that taught the fundamentals of student teaching. It affected my grade in the class and made my professor concerned. In my mind, I thought being late five minutes was no big deal, but to her, I missed five minutes of learning I’d never get back. She was absolutely right. In undergrad, my dance professor lectured me on the importance of coming in on time and how not coming in time meant that I disrespected her. I thought professors didn’t care if students came in on time, they only cared if they passed their tests or finished their assignments.
Third, I had classmates and friends who were annoyed at my lateness. In a group dance rehearsal during undergrad, my classmates complained to my professor about my lateness and my professor lectured me on how my lateness affected them. I felt embarrassed.
I view time as flexible because of the way it was modeled for me. Filipinos are noted for being laid back about time. An example is when a party starts at two, they come at four. My parents, especially my mom, are notorious for being late to appointments. For instance, my mom has a beautician appointment at three o’clock. Distance to the beauty parlor is estimated 17.9 miles and time to get there is around twenty minutes. Instead of getting ready an hour before, my mom gets ready at 2:45 p.m. Not only is she rushed to get dressed, she’s not giving herself enough time to drive in order to arrive on time.
I’ve improved upon my time awareness skills by using a planner, specifically a passion planner, and scheduling my appointments, assignments, and activities. This gives me a visual on my most important priorities and helps me reflect on how I can improve month by month. I’ve also made sure to give myself time when driving to my activities. For instance, I have writing class that is 36 miles away from where I live. I prepare my belongings an hour and a half before class starts because it gives me around an hour to drive. This way, I’m not rushed nor anxious getting there on time.
Time awareness is a struggle for me, but little steps such as writing down my priorities and giving myself ample time to prepare has helped me become more responsible and less anxious.