July 13, 2012 - submitted by Carol, Argentina

Q. TEAM ORACLE QUESTION #79

I am struggling with my daily life. I find it hard to attend to all of my duties in an organized way. This makes me feel distressed since I want to succeed in life and reach my goals. I started the year thinking that I would get over my difficulties but I am still carrying their burden. So please I need your help. Thing is I'm trying to do a myriad of things at the same time and it is definitely not working. I have an English tutor, a French tutor, I am starting to learn Arabic on my own with videos I find on the internet, plus I have a part time job which occupies 25 hours of my week. I know that as I write it everything sounds wonderful, but when it comes to sitting down and studying I cannot concentrate and end up wasting my time on Facebook for example. Then the tutor day comes, and I've done nothing. I have deadlines & examinations. I cannot waste my time, honestly. Languages take up a lot of time. And I want this year to be worth it. Another detail is that I sleep almost 11 hours a day, I can't wake up early and I go to bed late. Any tips for organizing myself and enjoy life? I love what I study, so that's not something to discuss.
Thank you so much.


The Oracle replies:

Carol, don't worry. Goal setting is one thing but sticking to it is quite another.
You're in a cycle that may be hard to break but until you do, you will be stuck in it.
The way forward is for you to break old habits and practise new ones.
You can't get up early because you go to bed late so you need to get into a new routine of going to bed earlier. Your body will soon get used to it.
As you work so hard, add in timed breaks to your schedule. This time should be where you allow distractions such as facebook etc but do set alarms to stick to the time limits if you struggle.
All of your issues arise from not disciplining yourself on time restraints. If you work better with a timetable, set one and reward yourself when completed.
Once it becomes habit, it will be easier.
The only thing I can't work out is the studying of Arabic. It sounds like that's something you've decided to do in your spare time away from your studies. Maybe it's an idea to put that on the back burner until you have your routine mapped out and more time to spend on it.
It could be possible you're taking too much so have a look if there's anything that can wait. There's no rush to do everything at once. Prioritize your work, studies, chores and social life to make it flow better.
Writing down lists of things to do in the order they need doing and having that somewhere you can see it may help you. It sounds like a visual aid of timetable / list / calendar with deadlines will help you so give that a go.
The more you do this the easier your life will be to manage.
Good luck. It's going to be hard but this works.
Over to you.

I'm a little young to be responding as I'm only 15, but high school is just as crazy. I've got tennis lessons, homework, volunteering, job hunting.. It can get complicated. I suggest finding a calendar/daybook that YOU personalize. It seems like if you make something genuinely yours (like covering it in Coldplay lyrics) you're more apt to want to look at it and carry it around. By planning out your schedule and having it be tangible, you won't forget it.
Hope things sort out,
Maddie, NC.


I have studied different languages before and loved it. Don't give it up if you like it. However, you mentioned you are learning Arabic on your own (which is really cool!) but maybe you should hold off on the Arabic until you have learned more French and English. It's easier learning languages when your brain isn't processing several new ones at the same time. This would make it easier to focus on French and English and give you more time for other duties. But that doesn't mean you have to give up on Arabic! Push it aside for 2 weeks and see if your time seems more manageable. Having basic knowledge of the language will make it much more easier if you ever decide to get a tutor for Arabic.
I admire you for you desire to learn other languages. It's not easy! Gavin.

Carol, it's sounds like you need a break. It's wonderful that you are learning three languages at once, and have a job, but maybe it's too much at once. It's hard learning just one language at a time, let alone two or three. You need a little break, and this is why you're spending time on Facebook. There seems like there's just too much going on at once and you're doing each thing only half-way. Take time to pick say, one language to learn and focus on that and become fluent before learning another. This is the best thing you can do for yourself, academically and mentally. Good luck, Phoebe.

It is very normal to be unorganized. It seems so much easier to sleep and play and leave our things about and have absolutely no responsibilities. But let me tell you, it is not a good habit to get into. My parents are divorced and I live with my mum. I visit my Dad twice and a week and spend one weekend with him and one weekend with my Mum. This means that I've got to carry books for the next day with me if I'm staying over at my Dad's, or kit or homework and it is EXHAUSTING! My bags are ALWAYS heavy. So due to my circumstances, I have to be organized. And so do you. Becoming organized won't happen over night, but with time and effort it will occur. Start by getting yourself one of those organizer diaries, you know, the ones with 2012 written on the front. If you write down the things that you have to do or remember or study then at least they're there and you know to look back at them. Try to stay focused too. If these language studies are important to you, then you need to keep reminding yourself of that and giving yourself a kick up the backside. If it's important, you'll try your complete and utter best.
Thanks for reading, Maia x

I feel the same way, Carol. It's so hard to do the right thing. I go to bed late then I can't wake up early and sometimes I lose my schedules. Even when I need to do something I love, I just go there and waste my time with something I shouldn't. When these answers come out they will help me too. I know how hard it is and even my friends and family sometimes make some jokes about it and I feel more down. I want you to know that you are not the only one who pass through this. I need some help with procrastination too. Danielle, Brazil.

My husband tells me "don't try to eat the elephant with one bite, take one bite at a time". I became one of those people who would not say "no". Learning this was awkward at first, but in the end it gave me freedom from the burden of not being able to fulfill many commitments. It sounds as if you are overwhelming yourself with so many activities. List your priorities. Make attainable goals. Set yourself limits. Live, love, and be happy! Keep listening to Coldplay! Katarina.

It's great that you love what you do, and you seem like a bright student. You seem to have a lot on your plate, and it seems as though you need to sit down and set your priorities straight. You are learning multiple languages at a time, which is very difficult and takes a good amount of time to study and master. Try getting a single tutor for both English and French. Assign a language to each night of the week and focus on that language.
When it comes to your academic studies, set aside a set time for each task you must complete per night, and don't procrastinate. In between each task, take five minutes to get a glass of water or stand up and stretch. Prioritize each of the assignments by due dates and amount of work needed to be done. Sleeping is important, and the recommended dose is about 8-10 hours per night. Use that extra hour for some exercise or something that you enjoy doing; do something that doesn't involve sitting down!
Slow down, take it one step at a time, and it sounds like you have a very bright future ahead:) Good luck. Lauren.


I think it's great that you've set so many goals for yourself. However, in order to achieve them and keep your life together at the same time, you're going to need a lot of discipline. I understand that it's easy to be distracted by friends and the internet. If you're serious about reaching these goals, though, you're going to have to put them before all of that. I think it mostly comes down to organizing yourself so that you wont feel as overwhelmed. If you are organized, and still feel too much pressure, give yourself a break. You can always handle one at a time( still very impressive). As for sleeping, I'd suggest going to bed earlier so you can also wake up earlier. If you have trouble going to sleep at an earlier time, try to cut back on sugar and caffeine. I have trouble sleeping too, and I've found that helps a bit. Good luck. Love, Darem.

You said you didn't want to cut back on studies, but it seems your well-being and happiness is suffering because of it. If you don't consider dropping a language, you might end up going mad! In order to keep from feeling overwhelmed, don't think too far ahead about work and examinations. Live in the present and finish what needs to be completed at the moment. This will keep you turning up with small successes rather than one big failure. Getting organized will do you wonders! Take a day off and buy a daily planner and plan out EVERYTHING for the next few weeks. Schedule your tutoring, work, bedtime, and something fun for yourself. The hardest part about this is actually sticking to it, but if you are truly determined, you will find that it is much easier to get through the day and do everything you want to. Best of luck! Blake.

I had the same type of problem, going through the school year. I was getting up at five to get to school, get home and work until the late afternoon. Then I had to finish all the homework, not to mention house hold chores and such. Not a fun time. But, the point is to set a time in your head. think, if I do 15 minutes of work, I'll reward myself with 15 minutes of facebook, or a power-nap, maybe even a snack.
Make it feel like in your head that you cannot have the reward until you have finished a bit of work. Start small, with small amounts of work, and nice rewards.
Eventually, make it more realistic, and even out your schedule. It will be hard, but we all have our own types of loads to carry. "Gravity" pushes on everyone" just make sure you don't think of doing all your work at once, or you'll never get it done.
Think of one subject, one book, one page at a time, and eventually, I promise you, you'll surprise yourself of how much you can accomplish. Good luck with your work, and don't forget to focus!
Your friend, J.

Thanks to all those who replied. Remember, Team Oracle is open to anyone so if you fancy joining in, click to read this week's question, and send us your answer.