Managing my Time Through my Carlson PT MBA Experience

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Like most students in the Part-Time MBA program, I have other commitments outside of class. While I wish I could focus all of my efforts every day on furthering my education, it’s not possible. At the end of the day (or the beginning, depending on how you look at it) I have a family. I am a husband to my wonderful, supportive wife; and I am a father to my 18 month old daughter. Since starting my MBA, I have had to learn how to balance my time to ensure that my family, my career, and my education all get the attention that they both need and deserve.

For me, it was really important to establish a rhythm and system that allowed me to be successful at balancing my time between these three priorities. It definitely took me some time to find the right structure that worked and allowed me to continue to be successful, and I feel like that structure is different each semester. Different classes have different needs, and my career definitely has peaks and valleys in terms of workload, so my personal system needs to be tweaked throughout the year. The balance that I have established now took me a few weeks to derive. I had to get into the groove of the semester to really understand key deliverables for my professors, and to understand how long that it takes to complete readings and homework on a weekly basis.

One of the major factors that led me to pursue my MBA from Carlson was the flexibility of the program, and the understanding of classmates and instructors on commitments outside of school. This was a huge plus for me, and has been a great benefit. I regularly travel for work, and being able to work with my peers and professors around that time has helped me to balance and juggle my time even better.

Of all the priorities in my life, the one that I take most seriously is being a husband and father.  Adding school into the mix definitely puts a strain on the amount of time I have in a day to accomplish everything I need to do, and that includes spending quality time with my family. For me, I made a simple rule that has helped me with. On weeknights that I am not at class, I won’t work on homework or work-work until after my daughter goes to bed (usually between 7-8p). This gives me a few hours each day to be with my family, and spend quality time with my daughter. While there are instances where I have had to break this rule due to pressing deadlines or business travel, for the most part this has helped me stay involved with my daughter as she grows up. While this rule may not be best for everyone, it has helped me as I have tried to balance time between my career, my family, and my education.

Lastly, my wife and I have made it a priority to regularly communicate regarding our commitments, and seek to be very open about our time and calendars each week. Touching base on a regular basis has helped us tackle our priorities one week at a time. What we have found that works best is sitting down together at the beginning of each week, and outlining our work schedules, time commitments, extra-curricular activities, and other engagements that we have upcoming that week. By speaking on a regular basis, we know where additional support is needed for us to get through that week. It also allows us to plan some fun family activities and ensure that we are staying sane with all that we have going on. It has been very important for us to make sure that we have time planned to relax and unwind. Everyone’s schedule is different, but coming up with a plan to balance all that I have going on has helped me be successful in the program, and move closer to getting my degree.