The Complete Guide to Balancing Work and Study at the Same Time
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In recent years, there has been a great increase in both university students with part time jobs, and working adults engaging in distance learning courses while in employment.
With the rise in university fees and the huge range of online courses available to further many careers nowadays, this isn’t a surprising development. However, juggling work and study can often be tricky, especially if you have other social or family commitments. According to The Conversation, many adults find themselves overwhelmed by taking on too much at once. But it doesn’t have to be that way; as with our complete guide you can develop your career, learn new things and earn money at the same time without feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.
1. Create a Realistic Schedule
How to Create a Schedule:
Working Around Existing Timetables
Whether you are at university and have a part time job, or are working full time and doing an online course alongside – start from the commitments which are already set for you. If you are at school/college or university, make sure you get your timetable as soon as possible. If you are working whilst doing a distance learning course, discuss with your manager when you are available to work. Fill out your schedule in a pay a day diary; complete with deadlines and important dates. The advantage to online courses here at CoursesOnline.co.uk is the flexibility of studying when you want; from choosing your start date to studying full or part time. There are also a variety of courses to choose from in each subject area so if one doesn’t quite suit you, you can choose another which is more suited to your availability and needs.
See What Time You Have Free
Next you need to coordinate your free time with your other commitment. Do you have a day off at university when you could work? Can you take one half day from work to focus on your studies? Are you able to work more during the summer holidays? Whether it’s a weekend or a few hours here and there, work out how much free time you have and slot in your other more flexible commitments. Developing excellent time management skills is key to successfully juggling work and studies, and with a schedule in place, this is much easier to accomplish. Make sure to use all your free time well, whether it’s for you or for doing bits and pieces of work. For example, use the space between lectures or classes as either free time or work time, and if possible, you can even use travel time to read, take notes or finish off some pieces of work.
Make Time For Yourself
After you’ve filled in your other commitments, it’s always important to take some time for yourself. Whether it’ catching up with friends over a coffee, taking a romantic trip away with your partner, having dinner with family or just catching up with your favourite Netflix series, this is essential to avoiding the stress of a constant workload. Try to make your free time spread out as evenly as possible across your schedule and include regular breaks, and for any big events try to get large pieces of work out the way beforehand so they aren’t on your mind during your free time.
2. Keep in Contact with Bosses and Tutors
One of the most important things to do when balancing work and studies is to keep everyone in the loop. Let your bosses and tutors know that you have other commitments and when these are, and if you do find yourself struggling at any point, talk to them about it! The likelihood is that your boss or tutor will try to help by either relieving some of the pressure by either giving an extension, helping with assignments or adjusting the work rota. Remember: you are a valuable asset to their company or course, so rather than send you away to deal with the stress alone, they would much rather be as accommodating as possible, so you can do your best work and be happy.
Top Tip: When initially discussing work rotas for your part time job or working out when you are going to study, try to give yourself a bit of leeway. Start off small (doing one day a week for example) and you can build up more hours of work/studying once you’ve settled into your routine.
workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in 2016/17
working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17
3. Find the Right Place to Study
According to Studiosity, having a ‘study zone’ or ‘work zone’ is essential to making sure that when work needs to be done, you will be able to do it. Depending on your current life situation this may be easier said than done, but if you can find a small space be it a library, office, cafe or even pub, it will make your life a whole lot easier. Not only do dedicated work spaces help you get ‘in the zone’ for studying or working, but they also limit distractions and help you have a clear line between work time or study time, and free time, so you maintain a good work/life balance.
4. Prioritise – Don’t Multitask
Many of us have a tendency to do multiple things at once in the hopes of getting more done. However, this usually turns out to be the opposite, with all of the tasks you are juggling being only half done, and it feeling like 3x the work to do them all! That’s why it’s important to prioritise rather than multi-task, and manage your time appropriately. That way you can get the pieces of work which need to be done sooner/are more important out of the way and have time to focus on every piece of work without getting overwhelmed, confused or panicked.
They overall key to managing your study time and work commitments is to be realistic. There may be a tendency when seeing how much work you can fit around your studies to go overboard and earn as much money as you can, or to slot your distance learning course into your work and achieve your qualification as soon as possible. However, in the long run, this technique will likely lead to a lot of stress and the quality of your employment and academic work going down.
Completing a realistic schedule, keeping your bosses and tutors in the loop and ensuring you have a dedicated study space can ensure you have the work, study and life balance to achieve your goals in all areas.