April 7, 2009

Grad School Tips for the Time Crunched

Filed under: School — Robert John Ed @ 9:29 pm

In a scant few weeks of being in the Consulting Enterprise, I’ve learned that time management is going to be incredibly important over the next month and a half.  I’ve broken down the hours necessary to keep on as such:

1.  CCE — 15 hours per week
2.  Class– 14 hours
3.  Group Work– 12 hours
4.  Homework– 15 hours (give or take, unless there is a finance multiplier)
5.  PT Job–14 hours
6.  Extracurricular Commitments–5 hours

This is roughly 75 hours for school and work.  Add another 49 hours for sleep every night (that’s generous, btw) and I’m at 124 hours total, leaving a whopping 44 hours of time that I’m awake and have free time.  That figure is deceiving for a number of reasons, the most prominent being travel times.  Time on the bus and walking eats up a lot of so called free time.  Correspondence also gobbles up time.  Emails and phone calls regarding whatever add up too.  End result, I don’t have much time.  Especially during the week.  Saturdays and Sundays are much more flexible, but weekdays lately have been ridiculous.

So here are a few things I’ve been doing to save time or make time.

1.  Forward email to your phone (duh):  This saves huge amounts of time for the piddly stuff.  Larger emails are out of the question, but small stuff can be answered on the bus or during a class break.

2.  Use Twitter for updates:  Set your close friends on Twitter to SMS messages for “@replies” and follow up accordingly.  Twitter is really easy to use if you apply it correctly, but your friends also need to use it.  I’m not sure they will expand their API to allow users their own versions (IE make a Twitter for your group of friends only, not just self selection) but if they did, it would be PERFECT.

3.  Invest in a pull up bar:  Going to the gym is not an option.  That’s at least two hours of a day gone.  The pull up bar in my apartment is easily the best investment in terms of exercise I’ve ever made.  Now, two times a day, I do what I’ve coined a Pareto.  This is eighty push ups and twenty pullups, once in the morning before showering and once at night an hour before sleep.  This is relatively enough to keep in decent shape, although it doesn’t add anything for cardio.  Finding time to run is really difficult, it takes at least a half hour for anything worthwhile.  That’s been hard but it’s easier with nice weather, so hopefully summer alleviates that.

4.  Bring in lunch.  Going out takes too much time and it’s easiest to eat a small lunch over a meeting.  The amount of time to go out and eat (as well as the coma inducing proportions of most restaurants) generally take away a great deal of free time otherwise applied to work.

5.  Ride the bus.  Counterintuitive to some things I’ve written, but it still beats taking a car.  That means excess time or money for parking, of which I have neither.  I do plan on biking into school again come nicer weather, but through 7 of 9 school months, the bus is a great deal at $85 for the semester.

6.  Find time to relax and hang out with friends outside school.  This is actually not a time saving tip, it’s a life saving tip.  With everything that happens in the first year at biz school, it would be really easy to fry your brain and lose track of what you’re there for.  I may have once or twice over the last 8 months myself.  The propensity of “driver” type students to ride the rollercoaster of emotions associated with seemingly life altering happenings day after day will erode your rationality and test your patience.  Maybe that’s part of the eventual galvanizing force this school is meant to be anyway, but if you don’t treat that pressure with respect, it could be a problem.

That about does it.  I’m actually very excited to get back to the “real world” over the summer with my internship,  school is quite an experience, but I think my tendencies are toward work.  Time to go running!  Bonne nuit.


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