One night earlier this school year, I had to miss out on the homecoming football game at Tropical Park – right behind my house – only because I hadn’t done my homework. I wa frustrated, no doubt, but by the time I finally finished, it was only an hour into the game! So I made the horrible, horrible choice of riding to Publix to pick up some groceries (which my mother told me to do) and on the way pass by the park, to see all of my friends cheering from the stands, all the while wearing that sad, puppy-dog, eye-sparkling face the lead actors wear in all those dramatic romance movies. After reaching an indescribable low point of depression (well not really; when I left the park someone gave me a red banana that tasted like an orange, so I rode bike home just fine), I began thinking about what I later coined, the “social requirement”.
Why wasn’t I able to go to the football game? Because I didn’t realize the importance of social opportunities, of something as socially and psychologically beneficial as the opportunity to hang out with friends (and meet new people) at the homecoming football game. I did not equate the priority of an outing to the priority of homework – so I reserved an unlimited amount of time for my work that had no respect or consideration towards the football game. So I decided to come up with a concept to help me divide my time properly, and I called it the social requirement.
Essentially, the social requirement involves applying the same time-management skills you use to divvy up long projects, to divvying up time between your work and the social outings you can attend. So next time you’re debating whether to stay home on Friday and work on that history report due Monday, or instead go to the movies to see Toy Story 3 with your best friends, go see Toy Story 3! Sure, you might have to accelerate your work on the report a little bit, but the social requirement is just that! It’s believing that a drool-inducing 100-page report about the influence and importance of the color red in modern culture is just as important and professionally and socially and psychologically and optimistically beneficial as going to McDonald’s with a group of five friends from the neighborhood to reap the benefits of half-price cheeseburgers on a Sunday.