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February 25, 2012

On the Go: I'm lovin' my jam-packed, stressful life

Daily Star

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Right now, it's exactly 1:22 p.m., which means I have exactly 20 minutes before I should leave for class, allowing a three-minute grace period should there be any traffic when I'm crossing the street to get to class. And of course, I'll need to plan an extra 30 seconds or so to have on hand just in case the stairs are crowded today.

This is what my life has become this semester. An over-scheduled, down-to-the-minute, hyper-productive calendar of places to be and times to be there. For some mystical reason, I have become a tad bit busier this semester than I had planned. Between my work study, dance rehearsals, my column here, my radio show, my blog on, and oh, yeah, my schoolwork, I'm consistently running from place to place, attempting to multi-task multitasking and basic human functions, such as breathing, all day long.

Thinking back on this now, it's astonishing that I've been functioning like this for two months now. And yes, I'm well aware that people all over the place are much busier than I am. I just know myself, and I know for a fact that the Adrian I know would rather be lying in bed blissfully trying to forget all of her commitments than out completing them.

But unfortunately, I have my priorities in line. And as blissfully lazy as I may be, I'm also a little bit fiercely ambitious about the work I'm doing here at school and where it will take me in life. So with that in the back of my mind, I've developed a few ways to keep myself (gasp) organized.

For one, I've bought myself a planner, and I rarely go anywhere without it. It's quite a departure from my former self. In the past, the mere mention of the word "planner" would send me into convulsions. I simply believed that if something was important enough, I'd remember it on my own. As you might have guessed, that worked out well for approximately a day or two.

Now my planner is packed with little reminders I jot down throughout the day, things like "work @ 6:30" or "do your laundry" and "no really, do your laundry." And miraculously, I do.

Another thing I have started doing is using the calendar on my phone.

I never saw a use for it before a few weeks ago, when I all of the sudden felt very overwhelmed. Fortunately, I saw the calendar app on my phone just in time. Now whenever I hear the Kim Possible ringtone coming from my phone I know that there's something coming up in the next hour I have to complete.

That or I'm finally being summoned to fight the forces of evil, which I will definitely make time for.

Post-It notes have become a real-life saver as well. It's not uncommon to walk into my side of the room and find something like "FOYTFWOYGFATWWYDWYL?" written in huge letters on a Post-It on the side of my dresser. To you, that might mean nothing, but to me, that is a clear reminder to "Fill out Your Timesheet for Work or You'll Get Fired and Then What Will You Do with Your Life?"

And finally, the last thing I do to try and keep myself organized is surround myself with supportive, sane people. That may not seem like a conventional organizational tool to you, but for me, it's crucial. Right now, after I finish this column, I get to go back to my dorm where a great group of fun-loving people are waiting for me. I may work a lot, but I also need time to spend with my friends. If I didn't have that release from my busy days, I would probably burn out a lot quicker and start to hate the work I'm doing, and that's not conducive to any type of future.

As much as I like to, I'm not writing a "woe-is-me" type of column today.

I actually enjoy how jam-packed my days have become. Yes, sometimes I feel stressed and frazzled. And yes, sometimes I have to do the unthinkable and schedule times to eat (audible gasp).

But I'm at a school doing stuff that I love, with people I love, and that's enough to get me through any over-scheduled, jam-packed, stress-inducing, wonderful day.

Adrian Adamo, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a freshman at Emerson College in Boston. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at teentalk.