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SMS Prep Course and a Busy Schedule

Is your schedule jam packed with work, family and other activities? Could you add even one more thing to your schedule? If you said no, I am here to tell you, yes you can. I know, because I just did and I have been making it work. Before I started the NISM Social Media Strategist Certification Prep Course I thought, how in the world am I going to add studying, online class discussions and assignments to my already crammed schedule. Truthfully, I kind of freaked out a bit and had to take a breath. Between my work schedules, I have 2 jobs, the kids’ activities and a husband who travels every week. I didn’t think I could do it. But I have made it work and I am so glad I did!

The nice thing about this course is the flexibility. You can work at your own pace, and other than the weekly scheduled online discussion, it is up to you when you get stuff done. The class material for the following week was opened up on Saturdays so you can get started on the next week’s work. I tried my best to get the current weeks’ work done by Friday afternoon so that I could have the weekends off. It didn’t always work that way, but I managed to get done what I needed to.

There is also an option to take this class onsite in a classroom as well. I cannot speak for how that is laid out. I chose the online version because of my hectic schedule and the flexibility it offered. I will say that you need to be self-motivated to get the work done. If a classroom environment sounds better for you, I say go for it.

It seems like a lot, I know. When I first registered for the course and got the syllabus I sat down with my calendar and planned out my weeks so that I could see what it might look like. I say “might look like” because we all know that it rarely happens as we plan it. Once class started and I got going on the work, I had one child come home from school sick and there went my “planned’ schedule for that week. That’s life and we make do. I knew from the beginning that I would miss one of the weekly live online discussions because of a work conflict but was able to go back and listen to that call. I will admit that some weeks were tougher than others to get things done, but I just had to try and get done what I could.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  • With all of the things in life demanding your time and attention it is important to carve out time when you can. I took opportunities while making dinner or while sitting at my kid’s events to get some reading done, even if it meant I only had 15 minutes and only got a few pages read. While I didn’t answer every discussion question I did my best to stay active online and participate when I could. The discussions helped to understand subjects that I wasn’t as familiar with and see what others were doing.
  • I was able to take a block of time every couple of days and get through the material which helped me stay on track. That being said, some weeks were better than others. Meaning that those blocks of time that I tried to schedule as study times got consumed with other obligations and tasks. It happens and life moves on, right?! I found it best to study in 20 to 30 minute blocks of time and then take a break. Move around, do another task, close your eyes, do whatever keeps your mind fresh. I moved to different areas of my house to study as well. It kept things from getting mundane. I have a couch in my bedroom so I would read there on occasion or sit outside when the weather allowed. Make it yours and it won’t seem like work at all.

I know that these seem simple enough and you probably have employed some of them before. This is my perspective and how I added this class to my already crazy life.

Want to learn more about Mandee’s journey? Check out her first journal installment here: SMS Certification: Why I Jumped In.

Author: Mandee Kanikula

Mandee’s love for creating things has led her to a passion for writing, social media, public relations and design. As a consultant with Socially Inspired, Mandee focuses on helping businesses succeed through written and verbal communication. Currently, she is adding to her professional skill set by studying for the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification.

You can learn more about Mandee by connecting on LinkedIn.