Have you ever counted the minutes until the work day was over? If so, you are not alone.

Business work can be stupefying, leaving you feeling dull while randomly musing about more pleasant activities and places.

That's the bad news.

But... wait! There is good news, as well.

Your time at work can, instead, be fun, stimulating, and personally fulfilling.

What makes the difference?

Use your business work to learn more about what fascinates you and then apply what you learn to make improvements.

Think of your time doing business work as an opportunity to experiment with a high-powered tool kit for closely engaging with others to accomplish more of what interests you... without spending any of your own money. Now, isn't that pretty nice?

Let me explain more about what I mean.

One of the most popular ways to get ahead in business today is by enrolling in an MBA program. Some of these opportunity-seeking students are willing to spend up to $200,000 of their own money, to reduce their incomes for two years while studying, and to work night and day during the school terms just to gain knowledge and experience about how to manage a business.

Their hope, naturally, is to obtain better jobs, possibly even to start their own companies, and then to accomplish more in business.

These days, most graduate business students have worked for at least a few years before enrolling. As a result, those students bring some business experience to their classroom work and have a better idea of what the professors and other students are talking about. Good for them!

But what are your choices if you don't have the money and time to engage in such learning activities?

Well, you can still learn the same lessons... and much, much more... by studying business management while you continue your current work.

Let me explain some of the advantages to this alternative.

First, you may not have to spend any money to learn. Many employers will pay for any education that's directly related to their work. Many online MBA programs today offer students the opportunity to apply what they learn to their day jobs, and employers can easily see the value of investing in enhancing the effectiveness of employees who they highly regard.

Second, by continuing to do your current job, you don't have to lose two years of normal income. In fact, you may gain faster promotions and raises while you are studying.

Third, while studying, you can develop an improved track record at your current employer that will help boost your career after you graduate.

Fourth, your employer may look for opportunities to give you higher value-added assignments where your new knowledge can make more of a difference. Any such shifts in assignments and roles can make work more interesting and fulfilling.

Fifth, your knowledge will grow a lot faster because you'll be gaining feedback every day on how well any decisions that are based on your studies turn out in practice.

Sixth, you'll add a lot of confidence in your knowledge and abilities. As a result, you'll be in a better position to propose improvements, to evaluate your business start-up opportunities, and to gain the attention and respect of others.

How do I know that these things are possible? Well, I've often seen such results occur with my own online business students as well as with others who have earned such degrees and gone on to accomplish much more in their careers.

Let me give you an example. Mr. Dan James is an MBA graduate of Rushmore University who has always displayed a lot of talent. He can play music with the best. He can write software that makes advanced computing concepts work for the first time. He is a highly successful investor for himself and others. He knows how to crack a joke that will delight an audience. He can analyze a business and then design ways to make it more productive by better applying information technology (IT).

Despite all that talent and proven ability to perform, the dot com bust in 2000 left him competing with tens of thousands of capable IT professionals for very few jobs. Like many people who started in IT while young, he had lots of great experience... but no degrees to anchor his resume. Increasingly, he found that he wasn't considered for jobs that he could do very well.

Mr. James' solution was to earn an MBA degree online while continuing his day job: IT project work for a variety of clients as a senior professional at Larkin Industries, a firm he helped establish. To make such business studies more productive, he wisely sought to limit his study to the subjects that would best fill the gaps in his skill set. In addition, he applied what he learned in each course to current client work.

Many people warned him that as an older student he would find earning an MBA to be difficult. Instead, he found the opportunity to learn new things that he could apply to his day-to-day work to be extremely interesting and stimulating. While he undoubtedly would have learned even faster while he was a youngster, building new knowledge and skills as a successful, seasoned IT professional meant that the resulting improvements were more valuable to him and to his clients.

Mr. James shared with me some of his study experiences, and I found myself excited by the accomplishments that he described. I wish that I had been his advisor and that I could have observed him as he made these great strides.

Instead, he wisely chose as his personal advisor a highly experienced and well-regarded professor, Lee E. Hargrave, Jr., an IT industry professional, consultant, and author, who provided one-on-one direction for each of his courses.

Since then, Mr. James' career has blossomed. He's now working as a top IT professional in one of the world's foremost training organizations. Since 2002, he's been sought after by many organizations to apply advanced IT project leadership skills. In addition, he wrote an admired book about contrarian investing, "The Stock-Market Mercenary: Beating the Insiders at Their Own Game." The book expands on one of Mr. James' research papers created during his MBA experience at Rushmore U.

He considers himself to be a musician who does the IT stuff in order to support his "music habit," because the way he likes to make music is expensive. He considers himself blessed that his excellent IT career makes it all financially possible.

Life is good for Mr. James. It can be for you, too.

What are you waiting for? Don't you want to get more out of your business work?

Author's Bio: 

Donald W. Mitchell is a professor at Rushmore University who often teaches people who want to improve their business effectiveness in order to accomplish career breakthroughs through earning advanced degrees. For more information about ways to engage in fruitful lifelong learning at Rushmore University to increase your effectiveness, I invite you to visit