How I’m fitting in an extra 20+ hours a week for my Masters

At NEP we come across many people who are choosing or required to do more study. And let’s face it – these days continuous learning is one of the pillars of success. And finding the time is often one of the biggest stressors or impediments to doing this study.

Personally I have to grapple with this myself – I’m currently doing my Masters in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health through King’s College London (KCL). 15-20 hours a week they said at enrolment. Mmmmm – not sure I agree with that estimate but the course is certainly worth the effort. KCL have onsite research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience so I know that whatever I’m studying will incorporate updated info. No point studying something which is out of date!

So naturally this means I’ve had to adjust my own schedule to allow for my study. And I’m very pleased to say that our NEP tools of energy mastery have worked a treat – and I think I was pretty efficient to start with!

I’ll admit I was a little worried about how our business would go when I started studying and I’m pleased to say that we not only survived, but have thrived during that time. When I’m with clients, I’m truly present with clients, safe in the knowledge that I don’t have to spend energy credits worrying whether my study will get done. I know it will – in the most effective way possible!

Now everyone’s work and home circumstances are very different so the exact implementation of our tools will look different for everyone, but here are a few key themes which are fairly useful rules of thumb.

Remember you have 100 energy credits each day – maximum

Often in times of stress we like to think we have more. We don’t. And any deficits will result in sickness, lower productivity and therefore things taking longer than they should. And remember you may even have less than 100 energy credits in which case you only have that amount to spend.

Energy mastery is the key to a more effective use of time – time management is sooooo 1990s…….

Plan your days for an effective use of your energy credits

Each day we have on average around 4 hours where we are really productive for cognitive load. High performers can train that to be about 6 hours a day – maximum. So this is where you want to pick the times of the day you are most productive and protect that time to master your energy and to create more effective time.

Not all your tasks are going to require as much cognitive load as others so you need to manage your tasks to match your daily energy profile.

Personally I allow about 3 hours in the morning for study, and the type of study I do depends on my energy levels at that time. I’m also super productive later in the afternoon so I make the most of that time if I need to work on proposals for the larger corporates. I have streamlined this work as much as possible and chunk specific tasks down to suit my personal pace over a number of days so again, really efficient use of energy credits.

And yes I study on the weekends – but I time it for when I have the best energy so that in say 3 hours each day I crush through far more effective study and it results in less energy credit spend. Luckily this also coincides with when my fiancé is at work.

You can’t do everything – and that’s ok

It’s all about choice. I made a choice to cut down on the number of fitness programs that I teach. I don’t have the energy credits to learn the amount of choreography that I used to have to learn and study. Something had to give and I’m ok with that. I’m certainly not going to spend valuable energy credits being disappointed I can’t do both! That’s life and this is the choice that is applicable for now.

And sure the laundry may be sitting on a chair for 4 weeks before I actually get around to folding it – again it’s all about choices and that’s ok.

Schedule downtime and time with friends and family

Not everything is urgent all of the time. There will always be more that needs doing but again, it’s about choosing your priorities and choosing energy-giving activities such as time with friends and family will boost your energy credit renewal which again will lead to a more effective use of time.

Hang out with the right people

My fiancé is wonderfully supportive so we make sure that the time we have together is very focussed and special – and we always have the next holiday booked before we get back from the last one!

Self-care, self-care and self-care

Fueling your body with the right amount of sleep, exercise and nutrition is vital. Think you are too busy to exercise, think again – when I’m on exam weekend I consider myself too busy NOT to do all of these as I know they will boost my productivity.

Saying no is also an important one for self-care. Every energy credit is valuable so I’ll never so yes to anything I’m only moderately interested in doing. My Masters has made me even more ruthless in choosing my energy credit spend.

Outsource, outsource, outsource

 We have done a number of blogs on outsourcing – it’s so vital to free up energy credits to focus on what is really important – every energy credit counts to maximise your cognitive load when you need it.

If you need to fit in study and are a bit apprehensive about how to fit it all in, why not contact us for a no obligation chat?


If you’d like to find out more, join the conversation in our next open workshop.