Because business school is demanding, getting caught up in all the hustle and bustle is easy to do. Most of us not only spend the majority of our time in the same building but also in the same spots in Evanston. But the problem with spending too much time in a single place it is that over time you start to feel a bit one dimensional. But fortunately, students in business school take the notion of time pretty seriously, especially at top schools like Kellogg, where students are so busy.
I bring this topic up as a lot of people in the first year class are talking about it. How to get more free time before the summer. How to ensure they achieve balance during their internships. And how to maximize their experience, not only now but also next year.
This topic is also something the second years are thinking about as they graduate in just two weeks, and will eventually head back out into the workforce. Below are a couple of things I’ve been thinking about recently, as I’ve been seeking to create a bit more balance and ensure that I enjoy my time.
- Decrease the time I spend in the building. More recently, I’ve been thinking about how much time I spend at Jacobs (MBA building), and getting out a lot more than I used to. This isn’t to say I don’t put in long hours. After all, sometimes being busy calls for you to put in a lot of hours in some cases. But it does mean ensuring I’m not stuck in the building all day, especially on nice spring days. So I’ll find other places to do work.
- Identify things that take up a lot of time. I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that take up a lot of my time. And in general, if something is taking up a lot of your time, I think about how valuable it is. Unnecessary meetings. Unnecessary talks on campus. Distracting websites online. Anything where I realize I’ve spent far too much time. The exceptions are things that you consider to be highly valuable.
- Block out non-work time. One thing we’re told from day one, but don’t really understand until later in the year is to protect your free time. So nights, weekends, and times you want to do things for yourself, such as work out. In general, it’s important to block off time outside of school to maintain your sanity.
- Be ruthless with your time. One of my best friends, Marquis Parker, told me this quote before business school began. Having heard it from an MBA alum before he began at Stanford GSB, he said the best advice he got was “to be ruthless with your time.” So this year, I’ve tried to do the same. Because if you don’t, you’ll see that your time just disappears and that you don’t have anything to show for it.
By thinking about some of these ideas, I’ve done a lot to find more time during the year. And I’m glad I did. Because upon reflection, if I couldn’t find more time now, in school, where our schedules are more flexible than every, chances are I wasn’t going to find it after graduation either.