If you want something done…

There is an old adage:

If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

Which is kind of the flipside of:

A job expands to fill the time available.

I currently find this to be very true, because, well, it’s summer. Of all the things I had planned, I have only accomplished a few, because, well, there’s no time left after I have my coffee, read the latest blog posts, check my email, write a little, have some lunch, and WHOA where did the time go?

So I’m setting out some things that have to get done, a so-called “honey-do” list. That helps.

But it also gets me thinking about student workload. Perennially, we hear from students, from parents, and even some well-intentioned faculty or admin that seniors need some breaks in the day so they can keep on top of their work, in order to get the best possible marks for university. Yet it seems to be that it is the busy students with heavy workloads who do better academically. Of course, I haven’t controlled for cause and effect – are more motivated and academically inclined students the ones who opt to take more courses, or is it that taking fewer courses creates a more relaxed, summer attitude that leads to less diligence. Probably a combination of both.

Many things in life are counter-intuitive, and this is one – though one we have probably all experienced. We want the best for our students, and sometimes that means pushing them toward being a busy person so they can get more done.

Now I have to start building a deck before it’s time for lunch.

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