How Can You Use Time Management When You’re Learning Something New

learning something newHow can you use time management when you’re learning something new?

Many people are starting classes after the long Labor Day week-end – people of all ages are flocking back to classrooms or on the internet to learn something new.

I’ve been a life long learner – I can’t remember a year when I haven’t been learning something new.  People often tease me about my thirst for knowledge.  They don’t ask me how I’m doing, they ask me what I’m learning now!  I love to learn.

Over the last four years, I’ve been learning to build a business on the internet.  I started with eBay and have now journeyed to blogging which suits me best.  Here, I can communicate with people and that’s what I love to do.  The internet is fabulous for meeting new people and learning every day

Time, though, is the key factor in any learning endeavor if you want to get the most out of it:

First thing to do before signing up is to look at your schedule and see if you have the time to attend classes and do the assignments.  You’ll have to give something up – there is absolutely no question.  Generally, for every hour of classroom time, you need to allocate at least 3 hours of study time and even longer if you are having to write papers then the time increases to four to nine hours per classroom hour or more depending on the complexity of the subject matter and how quickly you research, write and learn.  That’s a big chunk of time in a week.

Second is to ask yourself if you can truly sustain that schedule for the duration of the program.  Understand that exams generally happen around Christmas time and other holidays – can you manage the studying and the activities involved with those events?

Third, consider the people in your life.   If you have people at home – spouse, children, parents, etc – will they be affected?  If so, how?  How can you mediate the impact?  Can you delegate chores?  Can you get their cooperation?  Will your friends understand that you won’t be able to see them as often?  There’s little room for spontaneity when your schedule is compressed.

Think about it carefully:

There are 168 hours in a 7-day week (7 x 24).

Work consumes 40 hours plus commuting time – at least 45 hours per week.  For many people, it’s far more.

Sleeping is good – in fact, that’s the one thing everyone should be disciplined about more than anything else – 56 hours (8 hours/night x 7).   Without sleep, your brain and body will slow down and cost you valuable time.

That’s 101 hours already gone.

If your class takes up 3 hours per week plus 18 hours of study time per hour of classroom time (median 6 hours x 3), that’s 21 hours plus commuting time of at least 2 hours per week, that’s 23 hours.

Say you spend 1 hour per day grooming and self-care7 hours/week

Exercise – 1/2 hour per day – 3.5 hours/week

Food preparation, shopping, and consumption – average 4 hours per day – 28 hours/week

Chores – 1 hour per day averaged – 7 hours/week

Time for yourself/rest – 1/2 per day – 3.5 hours/week

Relationships – average 1.5 hours per day – 10.5 hours/week

For a total of:  183.5 hours per week – which means a deficit of 15.5 hours per week. And this number of hours does not include anything unforeseen happening nor hobbies nor special events!

Something has got to give and the time available must be carefully managed. For instance, can you car pool and study on the way to work?  Can the food preparation, shopping, and chores be shared?  Can you hook up exercise time with relationship time?  Can you study 1/2 hour during your lunch hours at work?

There are so many variables in people’s lives – no two lives are exactly the same – but if you like to learn as I do, there’s way to keep learning while.

Time management is always about thinking ahead.  So decide how much you want to spend in each area of your life to keep your quality of life while learning something new!

Lorraine Arams

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