How to Carve Out GMAT Study Time in Your Busy Schedule

We all struggle with it. There simply isn’t enough time in the day.

It would be a lot easier if there were 30 hours in the day and eight days in the week. I know, and believe me, I sympathize.

However, an interesting thought comes to mind that is very related to the last blog discussing the Pomodoro Technique (check it out here!).

A realistically sized task tends to inflate to fill the time that you allow it.

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That is, a lot of what we are doing, we could be doing in a lot less time.

This is the key to finding time in a busy day to work on your GMAT prep, and one of the main habits of productive people.

A particularly good way to begin is simply to register the amount of time that you spend doing various tasks throughout the day (a bump to Kopywriting King Neville Medhora for this one).

Write it down on a piece of paper! Figure out what you are doing during each 30 minute block of time in any given day.

Are there times that you just lose? Has it fallen into a Time Vortex somewhere beyond the grasp of modern physics?

For me, it’s bending over to tie my shoes in the morning. There tends to be at least 15 minutes between reaching down and getting back up.

Everyone has at least one of these, and it is largely down to habit. If you need to find an extra hour (or three) in the day to study for the GMAT, you need to be ruthless with this sort of analysis.

Maybe there are easy things to knock out.

How much time do you spend watching television? That’s an easy one. Just stop. Your life will be better.

But what about reading the news? How much will any of this benefit your long-term goals? Will you even know what today’s news is in one year, five years? Will you have time to keep up on it when you’re at the b-school of your choice?

Try a “news fast” as recommended by Tim Ferriss in his modern classic The Four-Hour Workweek. Go a week without watching television news or reading anything but newspaper headlines.

But what if something happens and I don’t know about it?

I personally make a policy never to read news (OK, once a month or so I slip and subsequently lose 3+ hours in that rabbit hole). Let’s be honest: I’m aware that Lyndon Johnson is no longer President of the US. News is a waste of your time. Stop it.

Remember, the GMAT never expects you to do more work than necessary: the golden rule is “never do anything you can hire someone else to do.”

Trust me, if something important explodes, a friend will tell you about it. Letting your friends filter current events is like having an army of PAs!

And Last but certainly not least:

DO NOT STOP EXERCISING. (And if you don’t exercise, start.)

As James Altucher reports in this blog (hopefully not apocryphally), Gandhi once insisted that his backers allow him one hour per day to meditate.

They objected, stating that he did not, of course, have enough time. Gandhi responded, “Well, then, now I need to set aside two hours a day for meditation.”

The point here is that exercise, much like meditation, is much-needed “me time” that allows you to cultivate yourself and reboots or defragments the mind.

It isn’t just about physical wellbeing and weight. The GMAT hardly cares what you look like, but it sure as hell cares what you feel like.

Put simply, the brain uses energy. A lot of energy.

However, the body is like a dynamo: a good, sweat-breaking sort of workout keeps the body in shape and the mind sharp.

If your body and mind are not on equal footing, it will be impossible to keep the stamina necessary to spend 3.5 hours answering ridiculous questions.

Keep your body trained, and your mind goes along with it.

More time-cultivating tips to come!


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p.s. Ramit Sethi suggests, after having studied the biographies of many ultra-successful people, that daily exercise is one of the few constants. 100% of the people he researched exercise every day.

p.p.s. What is your Time Vortex? How do you plan to fix it this week?

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