The Need to Reprioritize

You have just arrived home from a long day at school (it’s 4 PM on Wednesday) and sit down to look at your to-do list for the week. You have several major deadlines looming and are aware that you have procrastinated their completion far too long. Items on your list that must be completed by week’s end include the following:

  1. You have a 15-page term paper due in your leadership class on Friday (9 AM), which you have not begun. This will require 3 to 4 hours of literature review before you can begin and likely 4 to 6 hours to write the paper. There is a 10% loss of points for every day the paper is late, including weekends.
  2. You have to create clinical preparation sheets tonight for the four medical/surgical patients you will be caring for tomorrow (Thursday) at the hospital (7:00 AM to 3:30 PM). Each of these preparation sheets will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. These preparation sheets will be used to provide patient care tomorrow and will be discussed at the postclinical conference from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM.
  3. You have a test tomorrow night (Thursday) in your political science class, which begins at 7 PM. You have read the materials but want to review them one last time because the test counts for 25% of your grade.
  4. You need to finish writing your reflective journal analysis, a weekly assignment for your clinical course. The analysis is typically 4 to 6 pages and reflects what you learned in your clinical experiences each week. It is due by noon on Friday.
  5. You are the maid of honor for your best friend’s wedding and as such are responsible for hosting her bridal shower on Saturday afternoon. You have not yet purchased the food or bought the materials you need for the activities you have planned. You also realize that your apartment is a mess and that it needs cleaned before guests arrive.
  6. Your car is critically low on oil. The oil light has been on for the last week, and you know that you are likely to burn up the engine if you keep driving it. You must take it in for an oil change immediately because the campus and hospital are too far away to take your bike and there is no public transportation system.

As you create your time inventory for the next 4 days, you realize just how tight your schedule is. If you work until at least midnight each night and get up just in time to make it to clinical and class (6:00 AM), you should be able to get everything done.

At 6 PM, the phone rings. It is one of your peers from school. She has just broken up with her fiancé and is in a crisis state. She asks that you come over right away and stay with her as she does not want to be alone. In addition, shortly after you hang up the phone, your roommate knocks on your door and says she needs to have a conversation with you about the “house rules” the two of you set. She says the rules are not working and that she has grown increasingly frustrated the last week. She wants to resolve the conflict right now and is threatening to move out. Finally, there is a knock at the door. One of your neighbors tells you that he just saw your dog running down the street. The gate must have been left open when your roommate returned home.

How will you reprioritize your plans for this evening as well as the rest of the week? Can any items be eliminated from your list? Can any items be further procrastinated? What satisficing choices will you make regarding the items you will accomplish from your to do list for the week?

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