Practical tactics and time-saving tools: Part 2

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Jul 24, 2020

In the first of the mini-series, I discussed practical time-saving tactics and tools to map the long-term trajectory of your goals. This second post will add more tactics and tools to help you execute that strategy to achieve your larger goals.


Where would you rather work:


Or here?

Spend a few minutes tidying up, then set the stage for success: water, caffeine of choice, headphones and music, if necessary. What should you do with your phone? That is up to you. If you feel a constant urge to check the latest TikTok or scroll through ‘Gram, keep your phone away during the work, then use it as a reward for finishing a study task. 

Debrief after each practice case

Consider using the Pomodoro technique. It is a way to break up work and rest, in smaller bite-sized chunks utilizing a timer to separate “work” time from “break” time. Want a visual timer? You can use this pre-set three-hour Pomodoro study session.

Complete four three-hour sessions

Nothing bums me out more than when a candidate tells me they are going to spend ALL weekend studying. That sounds awful. Do not wait to reward yourself for when you pass the exam. Complete four 3-hour sessions this week? Take Sunday off. More is not more; the rest is just as important as the work. You want to be empowered to go into that room, fresh and ready to attack that exam. 

Create accountability

You are more likely to hold yourself accountable if you share your goals. Let people know your intentions for the day. Knowing that they are likely to ask you how it went will help spur you through the friction that may arise.

Make an appointment with yourself. As I write this, there is an 11 am hot vinyasa flow class I am signed up for. I created a tactical barrier reminding me I do not have infinite time to write; I must work with focused intensity so that I can get achieve both my work and my fitness goals, reinforced with a sizeable cancellation penalty.


Burned in my memory is the phrase, “If it’s not documented, it’s not done.” Create a calendar for yourself and check off the days that you accomplish your study session goals or use a free habit tracking app. Collect evidence to prove to yourself you deserve positive exam results.  

Just do it

I once read about a struggling aspiring runner. She started slowly and was embarrassed at her slow pace. Her friend reminded her that even the slowest lap was still running circles around the couch.  

Your something is running circles around doing nothing.

I suggest you utilize the tactics outlined in Parts 1 and 2 of this mini-series, mobilize them using the above tools, then Netflix and crash. You’ve earned it.

Do you have feedback on this post or a question you’d like answered by an experienced CPAWSB educator? Please contact your facilitator or send a question to the General Topic in the Candidate Discussion forum.

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB, and an instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education.
 Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.