Author of The Toyota Way, Jeffrey K. Liker, says that there are seven main types of waste Toyota has identified in its business. They’re boring, so I won’t share them here. Go get the book.
Besides being a palindrome ‘a toyota’ is also a good bet for a reliable vehicle that will get you where you want to go. Your education should get you where you want to go as well, so with that labored and overwrought segue, I present—bump, pa, bummm!—the seven ways students flush away their time and energy (that don’t involve social media or games).
- Students Waste Time and Energy on Unnecessary Work – “The prof put it on a PowerPoint slide in Comic Sans, so I should prolly take notes on it.” Wrooong. Don’t take notes on material you already know or that won’t be tested. And for that matter, don’t spend time studying or reading material that isn’t needed for the test. Don’t do it! Be strategic in what you do do (all the middle school readers of this post just sniggered) and in what you DON’T do.
- Students Waste Time and Energy With Poor Organization – Do you have a study area with all the necessary supplies and materials close at hand? Do you have folders for each subject with necessary papers and supplies? If not, you are probably frittering away precious minutes every single time you sit down to study just trying to get prepped. Frittering is folly, so fritter not! Do you have a study area with books arranged alphabetically and paper-clips sequestered according to size and color? Then you may be OCD. Seek help.
- Students Waste Time and Energy During Downtime – What do you do while walking across campus to your next class? If you’re just walking, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to quiz yourself over what you learned in your previous class; get a little studying done, on the run. Don’t ever just walk across campus. At least skip. It’s good exercise and amuses others. Treat school like an 8 to 5 job, and you’ll find you may not have to do much, if any, studying or homework in the evenings. Put that down time between classes to good use. And, yes, napping may qualify as ‘good use’ if you are sleep deprived. Plenty of sleep makes for a better brain.
- Students Waste Time and Energy Changing Tasks – Do you go up to campus in the morning for a class and then go home for awhile only to return in the afternoon for another class? Two words; time suck. Sometimes you don’t have a choice, but if you can find a way to wangle it, schedule all those classes together. Seniors are usually better wanglers than freshman just by dint of practice. Wangle well and waste wess.
- Students Waste Time and Energy Studying Poorly – Not taking breaks every thirty or forty minutes when you study? That’s a beginner mistake. Other beginner mistakes that waste your time and energy include taking crap notes during lectures or while reading, memorizing things by repetition, and making flashcards with so much info on them they’re actually tiny pages of notes. Don’t let these get the better of you. See my free video and ebook for quick fixes.
- Students Waste Time and Energy By Not Exercising Quality Control – Consider this scenario. Say you spend ten hours writing a scintillating research paper. Your prof weeps for joy, and you? Why, you get a perfect 100. My trusty scientific calcu-ma-lator informs that each hour was, therefore, worth 10 points. If however, instead of a 100, you get a 90, because you didn’t follow the prof’s instructions about how to do your citations or what font size to use, you just whizzed away 10 points there, smart guy. That’s equivalent to an hour of your time. Or maybe you didn’t double-check your answers before turning in that test or didn’t have your paper proof-read by someone more literate than yourself before turning it in. Why not? Each of those can costs you hours worth of points.
- Students Waste Time and Energy By Not Asking Questions – Ask someone else how to do it, for example. Sure you can slave away for thirty hours figuring out all those physics problems by your lonesome, but a really talented tutor can teach you the same thing in minutes. Minutes! The tutor might cost you some green, but how much is your time worth? I don’t know about you, but I worked my way through college. I knew exactly how much my time was worth (I won’t depress you with the details). The tutoring more than paid for itself! Same thing goes for using the prof’s office hours to ask that prof some questions. Go ask that prof what they meant or exactly what they expect on that project. As a senior in college I asked my adviser if there was any way I could get out of taking a semester long intro writing course that I had been avoiding for three years. She called the dean. He said, “Sure. No problem.” Bam! An entire semester long course avoided with one timely question.
What other things suck away your valuable time and energy? Tell us in the comments, and share this post if you found it interesting enough to read this far.
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