With final exams just around the corner, making plans to go home, and the Christmas holidays fast-approaching, we as students are swamped with things to do. How are we to cram classes, studying, work and personal commitments in the time we have left before we vanish from campus until January 3rd?  

Joe Uniak, Continuous Improvement Manager for Coach Atlantic, recently gave a lecture on workplace efficiency to business students in Mike Cassidy’s class BUS 3710: Entrepreneurship and New Ventures. Uniak presented us with helpful tactics and showed us how to apply them in the workplace. However, these concepts can be applied to a variety of contexts, for our purposes, to student life.

The first step is to set a clear goal, then to determine all the variables that affect the success of that goal, and finally, to identify the problem. Maybe your goal is to obtain better marks in all your courses. Many variables affect the outcome of this goal. Do you attend class? Do you have all your textbooks? Do you spend enough time studying? Do you pay attention in class? Do you like your classes? Do you get along with your instructor? 

Looking at my own situation, I have my textbooks, I attend my classes, I have no issues with my instructors and so I realized what I need to do is increase my study time. As a father of two and a homeowner, I have many other commitments.  

Uniak proposed that efficiency can be measured by value-added time, non-value-added time and wasted time. Value-added time is the time you spend working toward your goal, in my case, time spent studying. Non-value-added time is time spent doing other things you must do so you can work towards your goal. We will call my baby-duties and house duties my non-value-added time. The rest of the time is waste time, travel time, chatting, Facebook, watching TV, you get the point. With a clear goal set, the problem isolated, all you have to do is reduce your waste time, and your value-added time and non-value-added time will inevitably increase.

Looking again at my own situation, I am finding ways to reduce my waste time. For instance, I make coffee at home to skip the line at Tim Hortons, I limit my Facebook and social media time and I cut my TV time at home. By making a conscious effort to cut down waste time I have more time to study. It doesn’t have to be cutting things out completely, just reducing the energy and time spent on them. For myself, well I guess I’ll have to wait until after finals to see if it was effective.

By: Jonathan Leslie

Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier Millenium eSport professional gamer Samir of France, nicknamed D1abloZeTank, looks at a computer screen as he plays inside the Millenium Gaming House in Marseille.