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Spending Disposable Time

Financial planners and economists use a term called "disposable income," meaning that portion of a person's income that is left after they have made their mortgage payment, car payment, paid their taxes and other necessary living expenses. It is also called "discretionary income." It is that portion of income that people have to spend on other than necessities. We can look at time in the same way. You have just prepared a schedule with blocks of committed time on it. What is left is that amount of "discretionary" or "disposable" time which is left for you to spend. We mentioned earlier that most students who are not performing well generally are not spending their "discretionary" time well either. In improving study habits and overall learning, improved use of this area is the major contributor to improved results. You are now ready to get to work on this part of your overall plan.

Many young people entering college have the mistaken notion that the learning process will be much the same as high school. They will be expected to go to class and will learn most of what they are required to learn from performing that activity as scheduled. What they are usually not prepared for is that class time in college is meant to highlight the important points and go over some of the more difficult points. The balance of what they are expected to know and will be tested on is material they are expected to learn on their own time by reading assignments given in class.

The generally accepted rule for years has been that for each hour that a student spends in a college classroom, two hours of independent study outside the classroom will be necessary to keep pace with the professor and absorb what there is to learn. Therefore, if a student is spending twelve hours per week in the classroom, an additional twenty-four hours per week of study time is generally required. When you prepared your weekly schedule form, you made a schedule from 8:00am to 11:00pm each day, or 15 hours in each day. If twelve hours per week are spent in class and twenty-four hours are spent in study, we know we are looking at thirty-six hours per week for class and study activity. We have 15 hours per day for seven days, or 105 hours in which to get everything scheduled, including any work schedule, and still have some time for fun and relaxation. We already have sleep accounted for so it doesn't have to come out of the 105 hours. If we are using 36 of the 105 hours for class and study, that leaves 69 hours per week for work and just plain fooling around, exercising, going to concerts, etc. So this sounds workable. Right? Certainly using our time a little smarter should reap big rewards without turning us into studious zombies. You are now ready to start spending that "disposable" time.


Last Updated: 08/20/2013

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