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Control Your Time Debt: Time Management Tools for Online Students

Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.      –Harvey Mackay, business author

Merriam-Webster defines debt as, “something owed.” Debt is most commonly associated with money. We’ve got national debt, international debt, student loan debt, credit card debt; the list goes on and on. But the thing that’s owed doesn’t have to be money. It can be anything. It can even be time.

So what is time debt? Time management expert Mark Woods of Attack Your Day! Before it Attacks You, explains time debt as future time that one promises to another person or activity.

We all take on time debt every week. When you look at your calendar, you see the little bits of time that are marked for people and activities. A Starbucks meeting here, your nephew’s birthday party there, the neighborhood block party next week, and your friend’s daughter’s baby shower at the end of the month. Each time you promise someone else a chunk of your time, you are entering into time debt.

Of course, spending time with family and friends is an important part of life. The key is prioritizing your time.

You’ve probably found yourself in situations where you had to choose between doing something that you wanted to do, and doing something that you knew you had to do. Being an online graduate student is a major time commitment, especially when you have work and family obligations too. Part of that commitment is being careful not to promise away too much of your time so when you look at the week ahead, you don’t feel stressed and overwhelmed. And while you might face more of these types of situations while you’re in school, the temporary sacrifices you make as a student are going to help make it possible for you to achieve your educational and professional goals.

If you commonly find yourself with an overbooked schedule, feel stressed when you think about everything you have to do, or tend to overcommit when it comes to activities and events that often keep you from more important things, it’s time to learn how to Attack Your Day and avoid the time debt collectors who always seem to come calling at the most inconvenient times.

Check out the video below to learn more about avoiding Time Debt from Mark Woods of Attack Your Day!

Attack Your Day! Time Management Tips for Working Professionals and Students

Welcome to the first post of our new blog series devoted to Attack Your Day! Before it Attacks You. We are very proud to partner with Attack Your Day to help provide important time and activity management tips to our busy Northcentral University students. If you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines, are easily distracted, or easily overwhelmed when you have a lot to do, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read these posts, watch the videos,  and discover how developing time management skills can help you become a more efficient worker and/or student.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you were supposed to be doing something important, such as working on your dissertation for your NCU doctoral program, but found yourself getting distracted by social media browsing or answering and sending emails, texts and phone calls,  that an alarm would go off reminding you to stay on task?

Imagine that alarm is actually a police siren warning you that if you don’t stop now, you might find yourself in Email Jail!

Time management expert Mark Woods of Attack Your Day describes Email Jail as a person’s habitual tendency to sit in front of a computer pretending to be engaged in work when he or she is really “chit-chatting” over email and wasting time.

While it’s no secret that we are a social society and thrive on interaction and communication, a condition exacerbated by the development of smartphones (Those pint-sized personal computers always seem to be conveniently sitting within arm’s reach, don’t they!?), the truth is our tendency to get distracted can take time away from more important things.

Let’s look at of some recent statistics concerning social distractions:

  • A May 2011 study in the Personal and Ubiquitous Computing  (Pers Ubiquit Comput) journal reports that on average, people check their smartphones 34 times a day.
  • A 2011 survey by email management expert Dr. Monica Seeley found that 25 percent of us expect a reply to our emails within an hour.
  • In December 2011, ComScore reported that nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online is on a social network. In addition, for every 4 minutes spent on a social networking site, 3 of those minutes are spent on Facebook.
  • A 2011 infographic by Search Engine Journal reports that 1 in 4 Americans watches a YouTube video online every day.

Does that sounds like a distracted society to you? So how can you avoid the Email Jail threat and tone down the social distractions that can keep you from getting things done and meeting your deadlines? Check out the video below for some helpful tips.

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