Over the last year and a half, I’ve somehow been able to keep a pretty balanced lifestyle. Sure, I’m consumed with an inordinate amount of reading and class work, but I’m still finding it possible to fit in some fun time for myself and my fiancé, Ashley. Here, I will give some recommendations to current and future part-time students on how you can still fully apply yourself to the MBA and still feel like you’ve got a life through the lens of one of this generation’s highest quality TV shows, “The Jersey Shore.”
STEP 1: Don’t live your life in front of the TV. Before I started school, my regular work day went something like this: get up, work 9-hours, gym, eat dinner, television. TV time would last from 8:00 till I went to bed. That’s three hours a night! With my newly acquired MBA math skills, that’s about 15 hours a week…an eternity for a part-time MBA student. The cast of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” teaches us that you should never waste a second (granted, all their seconds are spent getting wasted, but that’s neither here nor there). The point is that I’ve drastically cut down the amount of television I actually watch and instead use this time to get some work done. When the weekend comes, I’m set up nicely to enjoy it.
Step 2: Work on the weekends…but do it early in the day. In the words of Pauly D, “Sometimes you gotta put sleep aside, bro…and get your GTL on.” I couldn’t agree more, especially since GTL stands for “Go Tackle Learning.” I strongly recommend taking advantage of your weekend mornings. Usually, I head to Starbucks on Saturdays at around 8:00am. It’s cliché, but I’m productive there. I setup my computer, get out my highlighter and get to work. I’ll usually hang around there until early afternoon, and then meet Ashley for lunch. All books are forced close by 4pm, at which time I call it quits and commit the rest of the day to quality relaxation time (i.e. movies, dinner, etc.).
I have the rest of my life to be tired, but let’s be honest…most of us are only tired right after we wake up. This weekend, get the motor running early; open your eyes, throw a little cold water on your face, and faster than you can say “yeah buddy,” you’re ready to go for the day. Think of what else you’d be doing if you weren’t working during this time. If “sleeping” is your answer, you might want to make an adjustment.
Step 3: Do your best to stay ahead of your course work. Getting ahead is a one-time effort. Once you’re ahead, staying there is easy. We can all take a lesson from “The Situation” in this respect. His hair doesn’t magically spike itself. Rather, there is a concerted effort on his part to diligently prepare.
As an MBA student, preparation is critical to a sane lifestyle. I recommend “staying ahead” by doing your weekly reading assignment BEFORE your class lecture on the subject. It might take a little extra effort to get ahead, but doing so gives you the slack you need to enjoy some free time. A perfect example is the last minute trip I took a few weeks ago. I felt a lot better about making the trip because I was ahead on my class work. Of course, now I’m “on-time” and will need to work to get back ahead of schedule, but at least I’m not behind schedule.
Feel free to share any tips you have on giving yourself some extra free time…or on how to create the perfect blow-back. Keep those fists pumping and be sure to give yourself some free time to enjoy.