Who couldn’t use a few extra minutes (hours!) in a day? Adult learners especially realize the preciousness of time as they attempt to balance various work and family obligations with the rigors of being a student. Saving time means greater productivity, less stress, and (gasp) perhaps a little breathing room to stop and smell the roses.
Ready to maximize your 24 hours each day? Try these helpful tactics:
1. Schedule everything
Homework deadlines, the parent-teacher conference at your son’s school, the day your boss needs you to work overtime, a trip to the grocery store . . . all tasks need a place on a single calendar or organizer. This system prevents scheduling two events at the same time and provides an overview of where “extra” pockets of time may exist to get things done. And writing down important events lowers the anxiety that you’re missing something, which promotes better concentration and feelings of well-being.
If you’re generally the type who scoffs at so much planning, here’s a bit of incentive: You also can schedule in fun stuff. Unaccounted for time tends to get frittered away. (Do you reallywant to take an online quiz of your Kardashian knowledge?) Block out periods for activities that mean something to you, perhaps going to the gym, meeting a friend for lunch, or catching up on episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale.
2. Go with your flow
When are you at your best? A “morning” person may find getting up with the chickens to finish a calculus assignment yields great results, while a “night owl” might prefer staying up later to complete it.
In addition to your natural rhythms, examine your life’s patterns. If your spouse hauls the kids to soccer practice every Saturday morning, take full advantage of a quiet house to tackle demanding assignments that require the most focus and save laundry for a noisier period.
3. Involve others
Speaking of family . . . make them a central part of your time-management plans. Too often, adult learners ignore valuable support either because they don’t want to inconvenience others or because they think they “deserve” a hectic life for choosing to pursue a degree.
Nonsense! Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, and furthering one’s education contributes to a brighter familial future.
Assign kids age-appropriate chores. Create a daily quiet time in which everyone does homework or reads. Take your spouse up on the offer to cook dinner. Appreciate that your kids have grandparents who want to treat them to McDonald’s and a movie while you study. Use your village!