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Written By Cliff Crosby, former NFL Player & Trust Captain
Imagine having a full-time job, part-time job, and running your own business - all while going back to school for a Master’s degree. Just writing this down, I still cannot believe that I was able to do it all. You want to know how I did it? Exceptional time management skills.
Let’s define the two words: Time – to plan, schedule, or arrange when something should happen; and Management – from the root word manage, to be in charge of, run. The full definition of time management is being in charge of the process in which you should be doing or completing a task.
In order to build effective time management skills, I first had to take a personal inventory and ask myself the following four questions. These questions were very important because if I could not answer them, I was not going to be successful.
What do I need/do to be successful?
I evaluated my work schedule and communicated with my employer about my aspirations to go back to school and asked about adjusting my work schedule. I continued working my full-time schedule, but adjusted my part-time schedule to work midnight shifts. This allowed me to keep my part-time job and gave me time during my shift to read and complete assignments.
Next, I invested in a laptop and uploaded apps onto my phone so I could access my schoolwork from anywhere. I also communicated my new schedule with my son and significant other and that free time would be limited. They supported me and reminded me about assignments or schoolwork I needed to complete.
Items bought: Laptop, flash drive, external hard drive, upload school app, notebooks
Why is this important to me?
Once I realized that it was important to me to get my Master’s Degree, it was easy for me to readjust my day-to-day schedule. It was important to me because I wanted to show my 16 year old son that I could go to work and school and be good at both.
Motivation: I wanted to accomplish an academic goal that would be great for my son to witness at the height of his academic career.
How much time will it take for me to reach my goal?
Once I decided that I was going back to school, I immediately wanted to know how many years it would take for me to complete my Master’s degree, which was two and a half years. During that time, I took a six-month break to focus on preparing for my 1st CC Football & Cheer Clinic. I knew I needed to put all my time and energy into my Clinic and working multiple jobs and trying to complete a degree would be very difficult.
Outlook: I knew it was going to be a 2 to 2 ½ year process to complete my degree.
Who is my support system?
I took some time to figure out who my support system would be or needed to be to complete my goals. I utilized my academic advisor from the University of Phoenix, my Trust Program Manager and my new classmates.
Support: I had to establish a circle of people that would not only help me reach my goal, but hold me accountable as well.
After doing a personal inventory of myself, I then had to create a schedule. I used my smartphone to schedule study times, reading days, posts in discussions/class participation and workout times. It was not easy to find the schedule that worked, but once I got my routine down it became easier and easier for me to make time for work, school, and my social life.
Managing your time as a former player is no different than when your team(s) managed it for you as an active player. Having a schedule, routine, and repetition is always better than just trying to do things on the fly. So set a schedule, stick to it, and make sure your support system knows your schedule so they can hold you accountable. Click here for examples of four schedules that I created based on my lifestyle.
This AthLife Fundamental was written by Clifton Crosby, former professional football player, Trust Captain, motivational speaker, intelligence analyst, entrepreneur and recipient of a Master’s in Psychology from the University of Phoenix.