Time is a fickle thing. In my case it likes to present itself in excess when completely unnecessary, but vanishes suddenly when I need it the most. Time is more valuable than money when I'm busy, and a useless commodity to be wasted on my cell phone when I am not. Managing my time has been one of the toughest challenges of balancing my lifestyle, and makes up for most of the stress associated with being a student athlete.
Sports by nature require huge investments of time to be pursued competitively. In skiing especially, travel time in the winter can reach a 1:1 ratio with time spent on the skis during a weekend of races. As a result, ski practice and racing takes the majority of my energy during the week. All my time spent ski training is time lovingly spent, but it is exhausting. I have to plan my entire day around training so that I can maximize my use of time outside skiing. For example, my training this past week included a rest day on Monday, 2.5 hours training on Tuesday, 1.5 hours Wednesday, 3 hours Thursday, 2 hours Friday, 2.5 hours Friday, 2.5 hours Saturday, and 3.5 hours Sunday.
While skiing alone is a smaller commitment than working two days a week, it starts to take a toll as soon as another activity is added. Skiing drains energy levels and makes focus tasks much harder right after a work out. Homework is a monumental effort after a night of training. Because of this, I have chosen to only take 2 courses at college this semester. My weekly school schedule is as follows:
At this rate, skiing is no big deal! With maybe 10 hours of homework and 6.5 hours of class time per week, it would seem that everyone should go to school part-time and ski!
But I work as well. Which means I am in the same situation as hundreds of college students and student athletes, the point at which their lives become a full-time job whether they are pursuing one large, monumental goal or whether they are splitting their time across several different things like myself. I have two different jobs: I work twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays 9 hours a day with a construction company. I am a labourer at my job, so when I get home at night from a 3 hour ski after work I am completely drained. In my "free" time I am working at my second job which is a landscaping project with my best friend. Finally, I am taking a few life guarding and swim instructor courses so that I can move on to a job with a pool in place of landscaping. My life is full, it bounces around from one project to the next, and it is tiring. Fortunately, I love what I do. Occasionally I go through "a week from hell", where things blow up in my face and I get incredibly stressed. But being busy has helped me develop strong skills for managing my time, and they are an interesting group of self-reflections:
Photo Credit: Cross Country Canada