On the Effort I Used to Lack


Michelle Lee, Staff Writer

  • Read more
  • Write more
  • Draw more
  • Paint my bike
  • Deep clean my room
  • Care for more plants
  • Exercise every day
  • Decorate a new planner
  • Create a zine
  • Sell all my old stuff
  • Get into pottery
  • Learn how to play my guitar

This is a list I made two months ago of the things I’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. Seems harmless, right? “Now that I’m stuck at home during quarantine, I could use the time to do so many more things!” is what I thought. Although time was something that I was lacking while we were still at school, I was missing something else entirely: Effort. 

You might be thinking, “what kind of real effort do you need to do things that you like?” You’d be surprised. As weeks of online school passed by, I found myself making more and more excuses like, “Oh, I have APs next week, so I probably shouldn’t be doing anything else,” or “I have this thing due at 11:59, so I should probably work on it now.” These thoughts may seem very productive and academically valuable, but in reality, I wasn’t properly doing what I said I would. In between textbook problems I would be watching Space Force on Netflix. In the middle of my AP review lesson video, I’d get on an hour-long FaceTime call with my friends. Of course, I would always end up finishing my school work on time because quarantine really did give us a lot of time to finish our work. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was that I let my extra time be absorbed by uselessly stretched out studying, leaving no room for anything else.

It was very difficult for me to wrap my head around this phenomenon. Procrastinating my homework I’ve heard of, but procrastinating something that I actually wanted to make time to do? That’s ridiculous. I don’t think it’s something that you can digest right away. I later realized that instead of lacking time, I was lacking effort. I was lacking a true effort. My intentions were clear: these things on the list were things that I eventually wanted to do. But when do I begin? When do I start to actively act what I preach? Planning on doing it wasn’t enough. If I wanted to do these things eventually, I would have to take steps to begin my effort now.

I’m happy to say that I now have myself in check. As an attempt to get myself to read more, I began the English translation of The White Book by Han Kang. To make sure I exercise every day, I planned out a workout schedule (heavily inspired by the TikTok famous Chloe Ting), and to keep my writing juices flowing, I continue to write and think of stories for The Echo

If putting more effort into doing things you’ve always said you were going to do is something that you feel you lack, I 100% encourage you to attack it head-on. I do warn that it is not easy. Don’t expect to be able to do everything perfectly on the first try. Just like how I mentioned that loving is like a muscle in my article “On The Importance of Loving in High School,” starting to do anything again will cause you to flex the muscles that you haven’t flexed in a while or, in some cases, ever. All I can say is that you shouldn’t get discouraged. Don’t give up just because you missed two days of reading or because you couldn’t wake up early enough to get your morning run in. As cliché as it sounds, the most important thing that you are able to do is to keep trying. Try to continuously make that effort, and you will find yourself in the place you used to aspire to be.