Paritosh Gaiwak

How often have you messed up with your assignment deadlines? How often did you have time on your hands, but wasted it only to have to manage a crisis later? Most importantly, how many times have you thought of being a better time manager in the future, only to realize that wasting time and then managing a crisis is a vicious cycle?

We often try to escape from doing what we should do when we should do it, and then crib about how life is so busy but mundane. But what are the causes of this escapist tendency?

In my peer group, I find very few people who can manage their time well and approach things meticulously (myself included). Most of us end up being at the whim of our desires and end up wasting crucial time when we have it, only to regret it later. In such a situation, either a student compromises on their health or compromises on the quality of their work.

Many students complain they don’t have time for leisure or some passion not directly related to the degree they are pursuing. In my opinion, it is the mismanagement — not the lack of availability — of time, that leads to such escapist tendencies which ultimately cause frustration and anxiety.

One problem, which I think all the youngsters of my generation face, is our fascination with social media, and the numerous social media platforms available to whittle away time. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are some examples. Some might find it hard to believe, but one study shows that teens spend nine hours every day consuming media. That is almost 38 percent of one day.

The temptations are often too hard to resist: you can see pictures of your favorite celebs on Instagram or follow their tweets. The advantage of social media is that for many people, it is a form of social expression of their feelings and desires. But surely, the time spent on these things can be reduced?

More importantly, it is not only the time one wastes on these platforms, but the distraction it causes over a much longer period. You are watching a video and keep thinking about it even when you are done watching it, which hinders your ability to concentrate on more important stuff.

Social media has infiltrated our lives so deeply that it is impossible to control its usage, even if for our own good, simply from someone else telling you to do so. The answer, then, is self-discipline.

However, if it was so easy, we would not have this problem. Self-discipline requires a tremendous amount of dedication and willpower. But it is also not as difficult as it looks. Applications like Space, App Detox and Off the Grid allow you to track screen time, usage of social media apps and even block you from using your phone when you shouldn’t be.

One way to improve focus and thus reduce wastage of time, which ultimately reduces escapist tendencies, is through meditating. Meditation is an ancient art and has multiple health advantages, according to the National Institutes of Health and Harvard.

It does not require much exercise, but it requires consistency. Not only does it increase focus and calmness, but if done properly, it can improve the quality of sleep too. There are many techniques for mediation, so anyone can find one that suits them. I am a practitioner of meditation and can vouch for its positive impact.

As students, we are wasting a lot of time on things which are essentially distractions to our career path. These distractions lead to escapist tendencies and ultimately cause anxiety. We need to build our discipline to combat these trends, which will definitely prove to be beneficial in the long run.