It is o’ early thirty. The sun still isn’t over the horizon, and I can hear the roosters crowing off in the distance. I am sitting out on my back deck trying to get some work done before the world gets busy. Crazy you say..?
The Great Time Squeeze
College will be back in session in a few weeks. So, one of the best lessons that you can begin to grasp in preparation is that your time is as valuable as money. Whereas we all have varying amounts of disposable income, each one of us gets only 24 hours a day. Soon a myriad of events will vie for your time.
You will have research papers that are due, ball games that you want to attend, and perhaps even fraternity / sorority activities. We won’t even discuss how a relationship can complicate your time! At the peak of this activity, you may find that you feel squeezed. Surely there are not enough hours in the day!
You can’t do everything. Yes, that’s right. You may be nearly invincible – a superhuman in the flesh – but you still cannot squeeze everything into a twenty-four hour period unless you assume a light schedule, don’t sleep, or have a few mythical creatures helping out with your assignments. As such, there are times when it will be necessary to make some tough decisions known as opportunity costs.
One of the best ways to tackle a busy schedule is to prioritize. This is how you do it.
- Make a list of everything that is vying for your time.
- Prioritize everything on your list by due date first.
- Next, prioritize everything on the list according to future value. In other words, which has more weight in your future – the football game or study group.
After you have prioritized your list, go back through it again and make a work plan against your available time.
- On a calendar, sheet of paper, Word document (whatever works for you), list your blocks of available time. Do this early in the semester.
- After you see your time laid out, go through your schedule and drop in classes and due dates.
- Next, look at each of the due dates and plan how you will get them done utilizing the available time.
- Place low future value events (like football games) on the calendar. These are the events that can drop off your list if need be. They are also the events that can act as motivators. “I can go to the game if I get my research paper done.”
- Do not discount your school’s recruiting events. These are high value events for you, as you are attending college to prepare for the work world. Start getting engaged with employers and your career center during your freshman year. Go after experiential learning opportunities and internships that will make a difference on your resume and give you an edge over your competitors. If you are an upperclassman and haven’t given thought to your eventual career, there is no time like the present.
Work / Life Balance
- Do you tend to sleep until noon on the weekends? (There’s something to be said for getting up with the roosters.) Are you a party animal?
- Are all your activities really essential or have you mislabeled some? Have you assigned more value to an event than is actually necessary?
- Are you wasting time unawares? Do you tend to procrastinate or lapse into daydreams while trying to knock out your assignments? Is that gal in Biology or guy in Chemistry occupying your Math assignment?
Finally, remember this important lesson. Neither time nor money is of any value if you ruin your health. Take care of yourself – eat right, exercise, and get the necessary rest.
Best wishes for a successful school year!
As Associate Director of Employer Experience for Wake Forest University, Lisa’s passion is connecting employers with student talent and creating a positive experience for both. She leads a university-wide Employer Experience team which is responsible for all aspects of recruiting, retention, and systems for the graduate business school. Her strengths include relationship management, networking, social media engagement, information aggregation, process facilitation and communication. Lisa has been employed at Wake Forest since the fall of 2002. She has over 20 years of work experience in various roles. Prior to arriving at Wake Forest, she was an entrepreneur, venturing into web-based international sales and marketing of salvage automotive parts and accessories. Before that, she was a trust officer in the Employee Benefit Trust area of Wachovia Bank. Lisa is also a veteran of the United States Air Force. Lisa earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Rollins College and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Wake Forest. Visit Lisa’s blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect via LinkedIn.