Well, that’s what I’ve been told – mostly, I’m chasing down every minute of the day just to complete stuff: work, get to work, drive home, spend quality time with my family, go to the gym, work some more, watch one or five of the 18 TV shows I DVR, sleep when I can… repeat. And if anything varies outside that routine, it better be interesting, or frankly, I forget I’m even doing it. Sometimes, I have a small break where I go to the store in the middle of the day for something specific and there’s loads of people just leisurely strolling around, simply window shopping, and I think – what I wouldn’t give to have that kind of time.

But the truth is, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. So why bring this up? Because if you’ve ever sat down to make some kind of goal, you know you need to set a timeline, right? Something that outlines what you’ll achieve by a certain date, or how much time you’ll devote to it each day. Or baby steps maybe – like committing to it in your head, but not out loud, not just yet. And if you frequent this blog, you most likely have some kind of desire to either continue your path in technical training, or are part of the certification community, or want to be. That’s one of the reasons why we created the Certification Challenge, to get folks ready to certify. And whether or not this is your first time or your hundredth, it’s still not a bad idea to set a timeline. We threw 180 days out there for you, from whatever day you start – 6 months should do the trick if you’re serious, but if all you have is time, how much do you really need?

Ok, where to start? Or maybe you already have and, at present, have reached some kind of plateau. Maybe springtime is exactly what you need – I love it because it’s a time of growth, resurgence, rebirth – of ideas, motivation, ambition. I find myself revitalized to kick start things I was so gung ho about right after the new year – things that seem to have fizzled out, like my diet. And typically, I put May/June as my timeline for attainment of my goal. Why? Because it’s also Microsoft Event Season! Well that’s not a bad timeframe – about two months is probably doable for a lot of you to get ready for testing – especially if you’ve joined the Certification Challenge and utilize the tools we’ve laid out for you. But if you’re a procrastinator like me, waiting until you actually get to TechEd (or TechReady in July, if you’re a Microsoft employee) isn’t a totally bad idea either – unless your end goal, is desired weight loss by TechEd J.

Let’s say you wait until TechEd to get started. You’re not alone, but you’re not out of luck either. We’re ready now to take your pre-registration for an exam (at 50% off – great deal btw) so let that be your baby step. Schedule that exam. Commit. Next step – get to Houston early and make use of our onsite Study Hall, open on Sunday, where we’re offering free Practice Tests, free Safari e-books, and easy access to free online training from MVA (Microsoft Virtual Academy). That exercise will offer you a quick assessment, and allow you to see where you are – I’m betting for most of you, if you’re good at your job, you probably have enough know-how to get you through that first exam – remember you’re only looking for a passing score. Next, take a look at the schedule of Exam Prep Sessions offered throughout the week, and find the ones that map to the exam(s) you are planning to take – even if you aren’t planning to take them during that week – they’re still super valuable. Here’s why: we bring you top notch MCTs (Microsoft Certified Trainers) from around the world, hand-selected to take a week off from their regular jobs teaching certification classes, and bring them straight to you. So the expertise you’re getting, either during one of their 75- minute Exam Prep Session, or if you’re smart, during a one-on-one conversation with one of them at the booth or at our Certification Central area, is absolutely invaluable.

So what do you have to lose – time? Remember, the time will pass anyway, regardless of what you decide to do. Why not use it to get certified? The worst that could happen is you get a promotion, learn more, get a raise, a better job, have more confidence, master your craft, find a better way to do things, find a faster way to do things, earn bragging rights, be a part of a global community of over 5 million people certified in Microsoft technologies, get asked to speak at TechEd, get offered a part in a Scorsese film – wait, well maybe not that, but all those other things? Very doable. Start today.