Not Enough Time? It’s All in Your Mind.

Susan Whitcomb

Susan Whitcomb is the author of 7 careers books, including Decisions, Decisions for MBAs. Founder and President of the California-based coach training institute, The Academies, Inc., Whitcomb and her team equip career and leadership coaches to "Change Minds For Good!"

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Graduate business school programs are purposefully designed to give students too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. This stretches you to think strategically, prioritize wisely, and work smart!

But this load-‘em-down strategy can sometimes backfire. You may find yourself so overwhelmed with academics that you don’t have enough time to tend to career management activities.

Or do you?

Time is relative. Just ask Einstein. Here’s a simple experiment to prove it. Close your eyes, then silently recite your times tables up to 12×12. Now, estimate how many minutes it took you (or seconds, if you’re the math-loving type).

  • If you found the task a bit tedious or perhaps unfamiliar (maybe you haven’t done this since 4th grade?), chances are you over-estimated the time.
  • If this was a fun diversion, you likely under-estimated the time.

If you want to check yourself, turn on a stopwatch and say them again. How close to your estimation did you come?

Bottom line: without your stopwatch turned on, you subjectively measured your times table experience.

Former Harvard professor Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage explains how “Every second of our own experience has to be measured through a relative and subjective brain. In other words, ‘reality’ is merely our brain’s relative understanding of the world based on where and how we are observing it.” Achor goes on to say:

“Most important, we can change this perspective at any moment.”

Take job search, for example. If you judge that job search activities are tedious and unfamiliar, your brain will subjectively inform you that the task will take longer. If you find job search activities a fun diversion, your brain will subjectively inform you that the task will not take much time.

  • Hard, difficult = longer time
  • Fun, easy = shorter time

Our mindset is constantly in flux. The good news is, we can manipulate it. At will. For good.

The career coaches at the Carey Career Development Office know how to draw out your interests and leverage your strengths so that your brain will persuade you that job search and career management can be more fun and easier than you expected! Visit them today by making an appointment through Carey Compass!

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