The Economista: Saving Time

math watch

Welcome to The Economista! – a blog for those looking to successfully enjoy their time at Brown while on a budget. Learn new tips each week from  freshman blogger Elliot Weiss as we embark on a journey of fiscal responsibility,  free meals (yes – there is such a thing as a free lunch!), and plenty of inexpensive fun. Cheers!

Everyone knows the very famous and eternally relevant phrase “time is money” (which, little known fact, was first said by Benjamin Franklin). Although it’s not always a simple unit conversion of dollars to minutes, it’s quite apparent in our everyday lives that time is one of the most valuable commodities that we frequently misuse, overspend, waste, and don’t utilize as efficiently as we should. As I look ahead to my very hectic week comprising huge (and very challenging) computer science and engineering assignments, various club meetings, tennis practice, and several mandatory social events (no joke here), I find it fitting to discuss a few tips for you using to maximize the very limited time that we are all allocated each week:

1. Don’t procrastinate! This one may, at face value, seem very obvious (so obvious, in fact, that you may be slightly insulted that I chose to tell you it), but even the most hardworking, non-procrastinating students still misuse their time. At its core, you should try to start your assignments as early as possible (even if it means doing a problem set due in over a week) and try to avoid typing papers in the few hours before they are due (which we have all done before). But even more importantly, it’s essential to avoid falling behind in your understanding of the course material. Often times, I’ll go to class, pay attention during lectures, and feel as if I’ve mastered the material, but then struggle immensely on the homework/projects assigned that week. Simply put, I highly recommend that you take the time to thoroughly understand all of the material after each lecture (even if it means digging through the textbook or going to TA hours for clarification) in order to truly save time later in the week.

2. Take some time for yourself. I often find that, amidst the stresses of math homework, freshman year friendships, and everything else that’s on my mind, it makes a real difference to let loose a bit and do what you really enjoy. I highly recommend activities such as: working out, playing an instrument (as long as it’s not too loud – which, I just realized, eliminates a lot of instruments), going on a nice walk (there are some seriously cool places to explore in Providence), talking with a friend, meditating, or really anything that’s fun, easy, and beneficial for you. Unfortunately, people also often resort to fun, yet non-constructive activities like eating (way too much), watching TV / Youtube videos (which can be OK in small enough doses), and drinking/drugs (which are never truly useful for helping yourself). Even if it’s just 10 minutes a night or afternoon, take some time to stop thinking about all of the stressors in your life and really enjoy yourself – you’ll be much more productive for the rest of the day!

3. Develop a schedule, even if it’s loosely organized. I’ve never been a huge fan of putting together a list of assignments and times to do them, as any deviation from the plan (due to unplanned procrastination, unusually difficult homework problems, or unforeseen distractions) seems to destroy the whole purpose of the schedule. Instead, I tend to do similar things at similar times each day (lunch is usually around noon, homework starts about an hour after my last class and goes no later than midnight, etc.) in order to maintain a steady rhythm day in and day out. For others, very strict schedules can be invaluable. It’s really up to you what strategy for getting important things done will work best. I find that getting into a weekly rhythm (as homework, tests, and projects generally tend to follow weekly cycles) of loosely managed daily activities, chores, free time, and work time makes a huge difference in how I approach my college lifestyle.

So the next time you feel like time is wasting away, or you just can’t seem to motivate yourself to get a tough assignment done, all you need to do is read over this blog again (slightly kidding). Even though these tips may not help you save money in the immediate short-run, you’ll be much happier and on top of your life for a long, long time. Also, just remember that the average lifespan is 25,000-26,000 days, so get going with your day – enough with all of these blog posts!

If you have any additional questions, comments, concerns, or mildly amusing jokes to tell, please feel free to email me at elliot_weiss@brown.edu! Also, I always appreciate suggestions for future blog posts!

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