With any time commitment, there is an opportunity cost. For everything a person does, there is always an alternative way they could be spending their time, either more productively or less productively. This is a concept that everyone must consider when looking at time management; opportunity cost. As for me, I have managed to optimize my time in such a way that I have excelled in both cubing and academic activities. As with any regime, this took years to put in place however with a simple plan and strategy it is achievable by anyone.
During Exams and High Pressure Situations
I have witnessed many people over the years who have struggled with this concept. Either they spend too much time cubing, leading to an addictive nature which in return has a negative impact on their studies, or they spend too much time studying leading to a burn out which is also an ineffective exercise. When asked, “How to manage cubing and studies?” one must realize that the answer isn't a simple conclusive one, it is completely dependent on personal factors.
With me, my school years usually aren't extremely demanding and even if they are, they're only demanding in periods. This means that when exams are around, or a lot of assignments are building up I generally have less time to cube and exercise which are my most common recreational activities.
During such times, I tend to prioritize studies as I am fully aware that after exams are completed, I will have a small gap for leisure where I can fully pursue my passions once again. This allows me to have amazing grades, without having a major impact on my cubing skills. During these times however, It is still important to keep in touch with cubing. Now one may think that this is to maintain speed, or stay in form however it's completely unrelated to your ability. The only reason I would recommend staying in touch with cubing is because it will give you that 1 hour a week of happiness and leisure which may be crucial to prevent a burnout and allow you to remain productive whenever studying.
My schedule used to consist of hour-long study sessions with one leisure break every 4-5 hours of the day. While setting schedules is easy, it's so important to consistently follow them and I feel such a schedule should work for most cubers. It provides ample time to complete all academic assignments and study, and also an hour which helps your mind rejuvenate and truly catch up to the present.
Another period where it's important to balance the two activities is during breaks such as summer, winter or spring break. Similar to academics, you can also get burnt out cubing too much and therefore its important to practice accordingly to make sure it doesn't get too repetitive and maintains the fun cubing provides. Firstly, it's important to identify any competitions which may be nearby. For me, if I have to prepare for a larger competition such as worlds or nationals my preparation starts well in advance as not only do I need to be in practice I also have to learn how to maintain nerves and other intangibles. Once this is identified it's important to create a schedule with different events in mind.
My main event is 2x2 and therefore I usually prioritize a larger amount of my time to practice 2x2. This is important as the more you practice your specific main event the more likely you are to perform consistently. During summer breaks, it's also important to stay in touch with your cubing friends and make new cubing friends as these are the backbones of motivation that will keep you going. Stay in touch with cubing YouTube, and forums as it will help keep you in the loop and motivate you for the future. I personally struggled with cubing during times where I didn't keep up with updates, records, new cubes etc. Staying in the loops helps you feel a part of the community. As for studies, my general rule throughout school was to finish all my school work in the first week of any vacation and then focus on recreation after that. Hence, I would recommend the same for any vacation homework or assignments or any form of revision, as then the bulk of the holiday can be spent doing what you love most, cubing.
Certain Difficulties I Faced
Now of course, learning to put time management in place I did make a few mistakes along the way. One of the most important mistakes I made was leading myself to burn out. While studying is very important, it's equally important to study smartly, and not put too much load on yourself. Along the way I realized that studying all day is extremely unhealthy and therefore I implemented more leisure into my day to provide a refresher for my mind and body. Another issue I faced was a slight decline in my academics in the middle due to excessive cubing. This is easily preventable by a quick fix in time management however can be extremely disappointing. When this occurred to me, it took a few months to catch up with all the work I missed, however it felt much better once I had. Overall, with anything new mistakes will be made and that isn't the bad part. It's important to learn from these mistakes and use them to grow as a person and as a cuber.
To conclude, time management can be simplified from person to person and in general with cubing it's very important. Cubings addictive nature can make it extremely hard to manage time and therefore it's important to practice time management right from the start to make sure none of your priorities are getting neglected. I hope you all learnt a lot from this blog, and If anyone has any queries they can always reach out to team Cubelelo or me for tips and suggestions on how to manage time more efficiently.