Good Grades, Enough Sleep, or a Social Life… Pick any two.

Facebook ‘likes’ are the greatest little cold reads. They are little statements that seem like incredibly personal and precise descriptions of the things that happen to us in the world that no-one talks about. They can be general truths that happen to everybody and are described in just a way that makes us think ‘I just did this haha’ or ‘That’s what always happens!’ or ‘I thought I was the only sneaky person that did this D:’ or ‘haha i do this kind of stuff all the time’ and the list goes on and on.

One of my favourites, and one that really interests me is the idea that teenagers can pick two out of:

1. Good Grades

2. Enough Sleep

3. A Social Life

This quote implies that performing well academically and fostering a social circle require so much time that to have any quality in these would be at the detriment to a healthy amount of sleep. At the same time, if you want to have enough sleep, you’re going to have to sacrifice either your social life or your academic performance.

A quick look through the hundreds of comments to this statement easily reveal that the majority of teenagers believe that they can only have two. But I’d like to take a step forward and say that that doesn’t have to be the case.

Can you, the person behind the screen reading these words right now, imagine a person who gets enough sleep, does well academically and has a social life? My guess is yes, and I’ll even go as far to guess that the picture of this person that you have in your mind is of someone who is (or will be) confident and successful in the world. Even more importantly, and what I really want to talk about, they’re going to be someone who has discipline and self-management skills. And what I really think the idea that you can only pick two out of Good Grades, Enough Sleep or A Social Life reveals that the majority of us don’t have the self-management skills or discipline to allow us to have all three.

Every single person in the entire world has the same amount of time in a day as you, me, and the person standing next to you. Every person has 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Yet some people (whether you know them or can imagine them) have enough time for grades, sleep and a social life, yet you may only have enough time for two. What gives?

My idea is self-management and discipline. You can’t manage time, since you can’t change or influence it. Every day has 24 hours in it. Every week has seven days in it. No-one’s going to change that (but when they do, my DeLorean shall be ready), but everyone can change themselves, and improve their self-management skills.

According to Roy Morgan Research, in an average week, Australians spend 21.8 hours watching TV and 9.5 hours on the Internet. That’s about 31.3 hours a week that’s spent not getting good grades, not getting enough sleep and not developing your social life (unless you’re on Facebook, but I’ll talk about that in a moment). So imagine that you’re someone who, according to the statement, has good grades, a social life, but not enough sleep. What we don’t realize is that it isn’t only grades and sleep that compete for our sleeping time, but also our leisure.

If the average Australian were to give up the hours spent watching TV and browsing the internet, an extra 30 hours a week. That’s about 4 extra hours that could be going to sleep, your social life or your grades every day. Think about what this means as a teenager. Perhaps you only get 5 hours sleep a night –> giving up hours and hours of television would mean that you’d get a beautiful nine hours a night. How would 30 extra hours of effort into your latest assessment task reflect on your grades? How would 30 hours of hanging out with your friends deepen your emotional connection with them?

How much of the time spent flicking through channels on TV, or liking ‘likes’ on Facebook really is worth it? Undoubtedly there will be some t.v shows that you want to watch, some people that you can only keep in contact with through Facebook, but at the same time, there are a lot of t.v shows we watch just to fill the time. There are games that we play just because we’ve nothing else to do (or because we’re procrastinating), and there are hours of intensive photo-stalking that really don’t matter that much, unless you’re anything like my uncle, but that’s another story.

What I’m trying to say is that it is indeed possible to have all good grades, enough sleep and a social life at the same time. In order to have them, however, people need the self-management skills and discipline to prioritize their activities and cut out the things that aren’t important to make time for the things that are. Watch the t.v shows that interest you, but consider cutting out the channel surfing that doesn’t maximize what you want. It’s about prioritizing the important things in your life, and then having the discipline to do first things first, without falling back into the routine of spending time on things that aren’t as important.

This is one of my favourite posts from my own blog – http://kulturconversation.blogspot.com.au/ Feel free to take a look 🙂
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