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Control Your Wasted Time

Control Your Wasted Time


It’s going to happen to all of us.  No matter how great your intentions are (or how long your “to do” list is or how many time management apps you have installed on your phone) you will waste time throughout your day.  Instead of living in denial that it is happening, you need to spend your time working to control your wasted time.


How do you currently waste time?  I know that sounds funny to think about, but your time goes somewhere.  When you aren’t working or studying what do you turn to?  Where does your mind go?  Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are quick and easy to get to, so they can turn into huge time wasters.  I’m not saying social media is horrible – on the contrary, I study social media as a part time job – but it might not be the best avenue to always turn to when you have a spare minute.

In addition to those common wasters, we have watching television, surfing the internet, or any other way you can dream up to waste your time.  What we are worried about is passive activities.  When your brain turns off and you cease to have worthwhile thoughts.


Now retrain yourself to control your wasted time.  To reach for challenging activities when you have a free moment to spare.  Start by searching for things that will challenge you and grow you in new ways.

Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Read a book
  • Play a musical instrument (or learn to play one)
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Go for a run
  • Play a mentally stimulating game (like chess or checkers)
  • Draw/paint
  • Write a letter to a friend or family member
  • Cook or bake something
  • Learn a new skill (changing your oil or sewing on a button)

And certainly, last but not least, sometimes just sitting and being quiet is good.  Good thinking only occurs when we are quiet and still with no distractions.  Sit on your front porch or hike somewhere.  Leave your phone and find a quiet place.  Think and pray.

There’s a reason God tells us to “be still and know He is God”.  Find some time to be still and know God.  That is never wasted.

12/50 Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

12/50 Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

I’m fascinated with lists and things in rows.  I love lists of things to learn and do.  I have a list of books to read, a list of books I’ve already read, a list of things to do in life, and a list of CLEPs to finish.  🙂

Last week I stumbled upon this article by Marc and Angel Hack Life: 50 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do.  While I don’t agree with all of the things on the list, there were definitely a few that stood out to me.  So here are my top 12 skills to learn before you graduate.

12 Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

  1. Learn to perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver:
  2. Tell a story that captivates your audience:
  3. Handle a job interview:
  4. Speed read
  5. Manage your time
  6. Remember names
  7. How to give driving directions
  8. Take good notes
  9. Listen to others
  10. Give a short speech
  11. Type
  12. Jumpstart your car
Managing Summer!

Managing Summer!

“Bees will buzz, kids will blow dandelion fuzz”

Olaf in Disney’s Frozen

As summer days grow longer and warmer, it becomes more and more tempting to let school and work slide for awhile.  Colleges and schools are out, the sun is shining, and it’s time to get outside!  But if you’re like me, there are deadlines to meet and tests to take.  Here are 3 ways to keep up with school and still enjoy summer!

1. Be realistic about summer goals

Here’s a good thing to remember: no matter how hard you try to avoid it, things will interrupt your summer.   Impromptu soccer games, families visiting, friends to go see, and days too beautiful to ignore.  So don’t make a list of “30 Things to Accomplish this Summer”.  Be realistic.  Set a few goals that really need to be done and focus on those.

2. Read good books

Reading is highly underrated, and I don’t just say that because I love to read.  It exercises your mind, relaxes you, and educates you.   What else in life gives you all those benefits in one swoop?

3. Take some time off

Give yourself some time to rest and regroup.  Take a summer trip with your family, spend a day only reading, take a sibling to the zoo.  When I finished Macro last Thursday, I took the rest of that day and Friday off to relax and play with my siblings.  Remember that even God rested after creating the world.  Resting isn’t bad, it’s laziness that is a problem.

How I Pass CLEPs

How I Pass CLEPs

I have taken quite a few CLEPs and, with the exception of Macroeconomics last spring, I have passed them all.   When I share that with people, they usually want to know how I pass that many tests.  And to be perfectly honest, it is nothing that I do.  It is totally the Lord and my mom.  I was homeschooled all twelve years and the skills I learned there are the reason I can go take college level tests and pass them.  Here are a few things that might help you pass your tests.

Be Disciplined

My mom was always there for me, if I needed her.  But with 7 other children, she couldn’t hold my hand the whole time.  Especially when I hit high school.  So I basically did my Junior and Senior year of high school on my own.  Admittedly, I wish I could have had that special time with my mom, but it taught me a lot about self discipline!  If I didn’t get my work done, guess who’s fault it was?  Map out your goals and hold yourself accountable!

Set a date

Take a practice test and gauge where you are.  Then call your test center and schedule your test.  And then write it onto your calendar in red ink and let it stare at you when you don’t want to study!  Here’s a rule of thumb I use with the Official CollegeBoard practice test.  Less than 40% correct, schedule test 4 weeks from now.  40-55% correct, schedule test 2 weeks from now.  55-60%, schedule test one week from now.  60% or up, go take that test!

Save money

Nothing like a limited bank account to put a fire under you!  Being aware that I have no money to spare when it comes to school really pushes me to know the topic.  I literally can’t afford to fail a test.  That will make you study like nobody’s business!  And remember, that a failed test means 6 months before you can retake.  You’re saving time and money!

Be willing to move the date

But, be wise about when you take your test.  I have canceled a test the day before.  Why?  Because I couldn’t get my score up.  I’d rather postpone than fail and have to wait 6 months!  You have to know when to shoot and when to be still.


And the last two are best summed up by quotations.

Be willing to fall

“If you learn from defeat,  you haven’t really lost” Zig Ziglar.

Blame yourself

A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. – John Burroughs

5 Ways to Keep Friends in College

5 Ways to Keep Friends in College

You get busy as a distance student.  Most of us already have jobs and time commitments, that’s one reason we’re doing college this way.  And then you have your tests coming up, and deadlines to meet.  And family gets first priority.  So where do friends fit in?  Relationships and friendships take energy – emotionally and physically.  Here are some ways to keep friends – even when your “in school”.

1. Send a quick email

I do this all the time, send a quick “thinking of you” email.   Just a note can change someone’s day, and you never know when someone needs to know you care.

2. Keep notes and a calendar

Write down birthdays, test dates, and other important events in your friend’s lives.  Add them to your calendar and then follow up with them.  I write down test dates and then send a quick email to let them know I”m praying for them.  I write down birthdays and send birthday cards.  It takes seconds to do, but it’s a treasure all the same.

3. Pray for them

I alluded to this earlier, but pray for your friends.  Write down needs and requests, if they have them, but never give up just praying for someone.  We don’t have to ask for it to need prayer.  I know that it means a lot to me to know other people pray for me, so I try and return the favor.  Prayer journals really help keep names and needs straight.

4. Call them

A quick phone call can cheer someone’s day and give you a mental break for studying.  Emails are good, letters are better, but a phone call is best.  Hearing someone’s voice is some of the best medicine in the world.  🙂  And it boosts friendships sky high.

5. Network

Be willing to invest time and energy into events that you are invited to.  Graduations, birthdays, weddings, movies.  If you keep saying no, they stop asking.  It’s a hard rule in life.  If you are to busy for someone, they shut down.  I was recently challenged to not be like the disciples, sleeping in the garden.  The Lord needed them, and they were to preoccupied with earthly things.  I need to make time to invest in my parents, siblings, and friends.

New Year's Resolution

New Year's Resolution

Every year I take a sheet of notebook and fill it with the goals of the year.  Some of them will take a few weeks, others will cover the entire 365 days I’m given.  Sometimes I wish it were a leap year so I could claim those extra 24 hours, but other times I know I can fulfill these goals – no prob.

I have 11 goals this year.  Yes, that’s a randomly chosen number.  🙂  But one of my goals on my oddly numbered list is:

Reach 90 College Credits

I’m at 63 credits, which means I have 27 more to go this year.  Which also means I have 9 tests left (each test is worth 3 credits).

School Plan 2014

  1. ALEKS College Algebra
  2. CLEP Macroeconomics
  3. CLEP Sociology
  4. ALEKS Statistics
  5. DSST Ethics in America
  6. DSST Intro to Business
  7. DSST Principles of Finance
  8. DSST Management Information Systems
  9. DSST World Religions


December Focus: Time Management 101

December Focus: Time Management 101

I was inspired to keep blogging some through December when I had a great idea for a series.  How to balance school and family during the holiday season.  This will be brief series with 6 good ways to keep the holidays focused on God and the family He gave us… while still being productive.   So, here we go!

Time Management Principle #1

Keep a calendar (or two) and actually use it.

It is easy to buy a calendar at the beginning of the year, but you sometimes have to force yourself to use it.  Actually putting dates on the calendar will save time and headaches, while helping you to keep track of everything.  At a glance you can see that you have to many “school” events and no family stuff – or to many “fun” events and no school.  🙂

It also keeps you from double booking anything.  I am a Junior in college, the oldest of eight, and I just got hired as an event planner.  Needless to say, my life could be a mess if I didn’t take charge of my time.

Use a calendar and control your time – don’t let it control you.