Diminishing Returns

"About a Boy" starts out with the main character segmenting his life into chunks of time. Granted most of these chunks either involve him getting a massage, or watching worthless British game shows, but this is how his daily activities are dictated. His life flows along very smoothly as long as he can fit everything into these perfect divisions. Recently I've been feeling like my life is much the same way. Here is my day-to-day activities for Monday thru Friday:

5:20 - 6:10: Wake up, go run
6:10 - 6:30: Stretch
6:30 - 6:45: Shower, get dressed
6:45 - 7:05: Eat breakfast, prepare lunch, clean kitchen, brush teeth
7:05 - 5:00: Work
5:00 - 7:00: Study Greek / Eat Dinner / Go to meetings
7:00 - 9:00: Bible study / Greek class / church
9:00 - 10:00: Study Greek or pretend to and actually read a book/magazine I find interesting
10:00 - 10:30: Read Bible, pray, go to bed

The scary thing is I'm trying to figure out how to actually make more time to do other things in this schedule. My running time is going to get pushed up more and more as my runs get longer, and it appears I will have to study harder at Greek if I want to make an A.

Which has made me realize that you eventually reach a diminishing returns point when you suffer from a lack of time. You cannot do everything exceptionally well, especially the more you try and do. So what do you let slide? This is my struggle right now. I love running and being in shape way too much to give up running every morning, which also means I have to go to bed relatively early. I have a great job but it has high expectations so I can't really slack off there. That seems to leave only one thing: Greek.

To those of you who are not very studious, that seems relatively easy! The thing is, the last time I made a B was in Calculus senior year. I pretty much adopted the philosophy in college that there is no reason you cannot get an A in every course if you devote enough time and attention to the subject. I still believe the same holds true in graduate school. Perhaps I'm a bit delusional, or perhaps I just have not been in a subject that I haven't been able to wrap my little dendrites around yet. But Greek seems to be pushing me on both areas: its time consuming and its stinking hard!

So I don't want to give up and settle for a B just yet. But I'm wondering just how much I kill myself for this one. And perhaps, moreover, how much do I kill myself for grad school? I started the M.A. program because I was bored and felt like I was watching too much TV. Its always good to know more about the Bible and thus it seemed a prudent thing to do with my abundance of time. Even now my primary motivation is to know more about God by taking these clases. However, that nagging GPA issue looms over my head like the dark cloud that it is. Blah! Plus having friends, a life, and perhaps a bit of relaxation wouldn't be a bad thing either. Any words of advice from any of you that have worked hard in the scholarly world I would appreicate.

I just looked back at my schedule and realized "blog time" was not on there. I must get back to it!


ahuff said...

Hey Blake, take Uncle Wayne's approach when he took Greek; do the best you can under the circumstances. There's more important things in life than GPAs! Concerning your schedule, you might want to move Bible Reading & Prayer to the beginning of the day; David wrote in Psalm 63, "...early will I seek Thee." Many have found giving God priority at the start of each day makes a difference, your Mom included.

joy said...

I just finished my first two tests (back-to-back this evening) for this semester. I was doubting my abilitiy to maintain my grad school 4.0 before these tests (as the unknown is more difficult than the tests themselves). I would just advise that you put in all you've got now and it will pay off later. Work ahead - that's the best way to squeeze in all the other stuff. The further ahead you get, the easier it is.

marc said...

i have studied hard in the scholarly world at one moment in my life and my advice is to settle for a B. Seriously.

lindsy said...

I agree with Joy work ahead and put all you've got into it. I also recommend a vacation after it's all over.

ann said...

I understand why you guys say he should put everything into it now so when he´s finished he´ll be finished, but the thing with Blake is that he´s always got to put another iron in the fire once one comes out.
Listen, Blake-o, you´re you and I´m me and God knows we´re about as different as they come, but I suggest you schedule some chill time into your days. And some time to write your friends living in crazy foreign lands. :)
Hey, I´ll be the voice of my generation and just say, "do what feels good!" :)

Dimag said...

I don't ever write, and I normally don't read blogs, but I thought I would read yours tonight for a change. So glad I did! What are you thinking man? Is an A in Greek really that big of a deal? One thing I have figured out in this life is grades don't mean squat! Seriously man. I have a great job and I had a fair amount of C's...ok alot of C's. 30 years from now are you going to care about the A you got in Greek? Are you even going to remember any Greek? I think you should keep up the runnin'. One athlete to another!!!

Rusty said...


Just remember we came to serve, not be served...its essential and yet so difficult. I stink at remembering it. Ultimately, while its great you learn and get in shape, who's it for? Yourself is a good answer on one hand. However, Jesus could've reveled in his own perfection forever while on earth and yet came to serve others. Don't forget the lost folks your studying and getting shape to serve. 1 Corinthians 13 has a lot to say about what gives our actions value. I'm glad you're training spiritually and physically though. The two go hand in hand in a big way. Good luck with all of it...and get a B, I dare you. It'll be better for you than you might realize.