Time is Money | Arts and Science Online

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Time is Money

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You’ve probably heard the adage “watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves” right? And you’ve probably also heard that “time is money” . . . so, can we assume that if you’re also able to take care of your minutes, then the hours will take of themselves? I’d say so.

In talking to many of our successful online students, a common habit they all share is being able to make the most out of small chunks of time throughout the week rather than trying to find large chunks of time (that may or may not exist). If you’ve got a job, a long commute, kids, family responsibilities, hobbies, chores and/or any combination of the above, having enough large blocks of time for schoolwork may just not be realistic. But being able to make the most out of your time is a must for succeeding in online learning (and by ‘succeeding’, I mean getting your work done without pulling your hair out or losing sleep).

So how exactly do you do schoolwork in small increments? How do you even concentrate with only small amounts of time available? How do you make use of time when you’re not home? I’ve got a few ideas from my own experience (and if you have more, we would love to hear them in the comments below):

  1. Break it down.
    You’re obviously never going to finish that 5-page paper on the effects of colonialism on indigenous populations in one 15-minute sitting, but you can certainly think about how to structure your intro in that time. Breaking larger tasks down into many, many smaller ones is a great strategy for anything you do in life, and it is certainly useful for making schoolwork achievable in smaller increments of time as well. Match your expectations to the amount of time you have available and allow yourself to simply complete one small, achievable task. (PRO-TIP #1: Achieving just one small aspect of a much larger assignment makes you feel great and makes the next step easier!)
  2. Use timers.
    Whenever I only have a small amount of time before I have to leave, be somewhere, do something, or meet someone, there’s a small device in my head that nags me and stops me from focusing on anything else in case I accidentally forget or neglect my appointment - it drives me nuts. Using a timer silences that nag. If I know I need to be out the door in 15 minutes, I set the timer for 10 minutes and let myself be absorbed in my reading. When it’s time to go, I’ll know. There’s no point in stressing about it.
  3. Mobile is your friend.
    You can access OnQ, most readings, videos, lectures and online resources from your phone. In the waiting room at the doctor’s office? Quit trying to figure out what the guy across from you has and do a little reading! Bank lines, grocery lines, waiting to pick up kids or spouse from school/work, on the bus, subway, carpool – you have your phone on you anyways; it’s no extra work to bring with you.
  4. Scrap the Snapchat and get ahead. (PRO-TIP #2: I keep a small pair of headphones in the car in case I need to watch a video or access a resource with sound – they’re also good for blocking out background noise if I’m reading in a public place. PRO TIP #3: Find/use a good note-taking app like Evernote or Bear to write things down and sync across all devices; it makes it easier for you to always pick up where you left off on any device.)

Remember, there are 1440 minutes in a day. If the 15 minutes you have while waiting for a bus or for your water to boil was a $5 bill, you wouldn’t throw it in the garbage . . . so don’t do the same thing to your time! In the course of a day, a week, a month, these small bits of time can add up to make a BIG impact in how much schoolwork you can get done.

Did we miss any? Let us know below.

Now get back to work.

For more on managing your time, we’ve collected a bunch of resources to help you out. Take a look.