by Erica

“I’ll do it later.”

It’s a habit that’s plagued me for forever.

Not now. I’m too busy. I’m not in the mood. I’ve already done so much today. I have more important things to do. Some other time.

I love planning for the future because it’s easy. It’s easy to make a to-do list for college applications. It’s easy to make an overly-detailed schedule for the week filled with designated times for homework and exercising and meals. But actually implementing this schedule or timeline is fifty times harder.

This past year has been a series of “when I’m done with _____, I’ll finally get my life together”, or “when I’m done with _____, I’ll finally do that thing I’ve always wanted to do”. When I finish midterms. When I finish studying for the ACT/SAT/APs. When I finish finals. When I finish my internship. Then I’ll do all the things I’ve always wanted to do. Then I’ll finally get myself back on track. Then I’ll finally get on top of homework.

I’ve never really taken it easy in school. It was always a constant 7-9 course load, plus homework, plus a job, and plus karate. It’s hard to stay afloat. I get things done, mind you, but my motivation to be productive comes at odd times and is quite sporadic. Having discipline would have gotten rid of most of the all-nighters, the bags under my eyes, the breaking points, and the general stressed outlook. Junior year was hard and a lot of it was my fault.

I’m trying to teach myself more discipline.

We’re one week into the school year, and perhaps my efforts may not be so futile after all. I’ve been good about going to bed by 11 and waking up by 6, and I’ve started to cultivate the habit of doing homework for 5 hours straight until burning out. There have been some messy days, some days where I come home from work and am in no mood whatsoever to do anything productive, or some days when I just listen to Spotify and eat Reese’s peanut butter cups and scroll through Tumblr, but that’s okay. The beginning doesn’t have to be perfect.

It’s going to be rough, and it’s going to be terrible, but I’m determined to stop saying “later” and start getting things done now.