Among many other things, law school teaches you the art of time management. You learn how to read rapidly for understanding, to juggle a rigorous course-load, and inevitably to make time for yourself for the sake of your mental health. An important part of this learning process for me was discovering my “power hour” for writing and reading. What is a power hour you may ask? To put it simply, a power hour is a time of day when you absorb the most information and attain your highest level of productivity.
Pre-COVID-19, my power hour was at 7 a.m. before anyone arrived on campus. I would wake up at 6 a.m. (I know, crazy!), get ready, and take my breakfast on-the-go for the drive to campus. 1L year I usually did not have classes until 9:30 a.m. at the earliest, so this meant that I would have a couple hours of uninterrupted time to myself to read for my classes and prepare myself for the day ahead. I should say, however, that finding a time that worked for me was not so simple. The first few weeks of class, I found myself trying to emulate what I felt was working for my fellow classmates. Many students would wake up right before class, attend classes, and work ahead toward the next day until bedtime. While there is nothing wrong with this, I personally found attending classes exhausting and would find myself taking excessively long naps after class and frantically working until bedtime. I should add – without exaggeration – that sometimes I napped on the floor of my living room with my shoes and winter coat still on! Ultimately, I decided to shift toward going to bed early and waking up early and forgave myself for being unlike other students.
As a 2L during the pandemic, I still highly value my peaceful mornings to myself, but some things have changed. With more challenging classes and law review on my plate, I had a lot more work than first year and I again was faced with the challenge of finding my power hour. I still have my early mornings when I read for classes, but I complete writing assignments and items for submission in the evening. Additionally, I work more on weekends but never start until after 3 p.m. so I can make time for some trashy reality television because – as I mentioned – you need to make time for yourself!
All of this to say, finding your power hour can be just what you need to re-vamp your productivity and become the best student you can be. While it may not be easy at first, I believe the process of trial and error, combined with a touch of self-forgiveness for being different are key ingredients for a recipe for success!