Working full-time and getting an evening MBA doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else, including a vibrant social life. The energy required to successfully meet the demand expectations can be overwhelming at times … but, anything that’s hard to do is said to be worth it. That said, there’s a lot of times when I’ve had a rough day and just don’t feel like going home to work – I’d rather go home to relax. So what do I do when everything in my body is telling me to take it easy, but my schedule is telling me to keep pushing? Here’s 3 things I’ve learned that have helped me manage my time and motivate myself to do things even when I don’t feel like doing them.
- You don’t necessarily have to feel like doing something to do it. Like most things in life, the hardest part is starting. Once you get rolling, it’s all downhill from there (metaphorically speaking). If you can set designated time aside to get done what you need to get done, then you’ve bought into that commitment – whether you feel like it or not. A good rule of thumb is that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. So, even if you don’t feel like it, try to keep your end goal in mind and understand that doing something will make it that much easier for you later on.
- You’ve made a promise (to yourself, others, or both), so stick to it. Part of being responsible is sticking to your word, committing to something, and following through. Your word is your promise, and when you make the commitment public (i.e., telling someone you’re going to do something), you’re more likely to live up to it. One trick I use is to make sure it’s on my phone’s calendar. Sending an email or verbally committing is the first step, but if it’s on the calendar, it’s sure to get done because I’ve purposefully set aside time for it.
- You have to put yourself in the mindset that every minute counts. To first understand how to make every minute count, we need to understand where our minutes go by auditing ourselves and seeing where exactly we spend our time. There’s basically 5 areas where you can spend time: Health, Career, Friends and Family, Sleep, and Leisure. Whether it’s spending time with your family or loved ones, sitting in a meeting at work, building a SWOT for your MBA project, or working out – whatever it is – it has to count. The old adage is that there’s only 24 hours in a day, so you have to figure out how to best utilize your time. The reality is that you can likely only spend time on 3-4 of these items in a day to make a meaningful impact. The thing I had to cut out in order to make things work for me was leisure. For almost two years, I’ve had almost no idea what was going on in pop-culture, television, or for that matter, the world in general. And you know what? I really didn’t miss much. To not have those conversations really puts things into perspective because I’m only focusing my time on the things that matter most to me. No one has ever been on their deathbed regretting that they missed that season of Breaking Bad. So, to get it done, cut out your leisure time. Turn off the TV, turn off Netflix and just do it.