Where do you fit it all in? School? Work? Family? How can you make time for everything you need to do? One way is to be a time ninja.
But what does it mean to be a time ninja? A time ninja sneaks things into the every day moments of life and uses them to their advantage. Being a time ninja involves preparing yourself for battle against your schedule and wasted time. It means thinking ahead, seizing the moment and getting things done.
“Online Courses” Doesn’t Mean Working Online
Just because you are an online student or working at a distance, it doesn’t mean you can only work online. At the start of term or maybe just the start of a unit, consider printing out the materials you need to read or the assignment directions. Keep these print outs with you along with a notebook and pen. Then in those five or 10 minute stretches of downtime you find throughout your day — waiting for an appointment, a car pool, a break at work — crack open these materials and get some work done. Don’t wait until you have time at your computer.
Listen to Yourself
Sometimes we do our best thinking at the worst times. Prepare for this. Keep a notebook beside your bed for a middle of the night brainstorming idea. Use the voice recorder app on your phone to record ideas for papers or other assignments. Don’t ignore the times when inspiration strikes. Seize those moments. It doesn’t have to be written to be useful.
If writer’s block grips you, use time against it! Set a timer on your cell phone and challenge yourself to write for 10 or 15 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write — just start. Write anything that comes to mind. Then use what you generate as a jumping off point.
Plan, Prepare, Attack
The final time ninja step is to not let the work sneak up on you. Always have a plan. At the start of each class, write the due dates for all of the major assignments on your calendar. Use a paper calendar, the calendar on your phone or a cloud-based calendar like Google Calendar. In addition to major due dates, schedule when you need to start working on a project. If you have an eight-page paper due, break it down into several parts (research, outlining, first draft, revisions, proofreading) and schedule them in advance of the due date. If you have an exam on multiple chapters, schedule the time you will need to review the exact chapters.
Being a time management ninja means looking at your day, assessing the time you have and making the most of all of it. With some advance planning, you can master the time crunch to your advantage!
Written by Dr. Brandi Megan Granett