Work can be demanding enough on its own, but when you’re studying in your downtime as well, it can feel overwhelming. Along with your social and work life, you have to find enough time in the day to read, complete projects, and collaborate on group assignments.
Even if you manage your time well, generating energy and focus for school after a full day of work can be a challenge. Yet, continuing your education can be a huge benefit to your career, boosting your earning power and job prospects. Many students have figured out to manage study with work, so how do they do it? The key could be as simple as staying organized and focused.
Benefits of continuing education
Furthering your education – whether full-time or part-time, in a technical school or a college or university – has numerous advantages. Here are a few of the benefits.
- Career prospects: Additional education can significantly boost your career prospects. You will gain valuable skills and knowledge that make you a better candidate for the job have today and the one you aspire. Showing prospective employers you successfully balanced work with school can also demonstrate your soft skills, like organization and discipline.
- Earning potential: Linked to enhancing your job prospects is the added benefit of raising your earning potential. With additional qualifications, you’ll be more competitive when applying for a higher paying job or negotiating a pay raise with your boss.
- Keep up with developments: Going back to school can keep you up to date with the latest trends, technology, and developments in your chosen field. This is one more thing that makes you more competitive as a candidate for new jobs, opportunities to advance, and pay raises.
- Stimulate your mind: The process of learning can be valuable in itself. By studying something you enjoy and continuing with your education, you broaden your perspective, become more confident, and keep your mind stimulated. These results can have a positive impact on your performance as an employee no matter where you work.
- Tax deductions: If your education is relevant to your current job, the cost of your tuition, textbooks and other expenses could be tax-deductible.
Tips for balancing work and study
Although the idea of studying and working at the same time may sound stressful, it is possible to balance the two. Start with these practical tips.
1. Continuously adjust your schedule
When you’re working and studying at the same time, scheduling conflicts will arise from time to time. Stay flexible and be ready to adjust your schedule. Look for ways to have more control over your time. For example, your employer might give you a choice of shifts, or your school might have virtual learning options so you can avoid a commute.
However, when things change around, be ready to adjust your schedule and address the most important priorities. Don’t forget to keep everyone – your boss, family, fellow students, and colleagues – informed and updated where necessary, especially about exam periods when you need more time for preparation.
2. Use organizational tools
You might or might not consider yourself an organized person, but anyone can be organized with the right aids. Use physical or digital folders to categories your study notes so you can easily find anything when you need it.
Set up a calendar app to track due dates, work shifts, and study group meetings. Break school-related work into chunks of time and note them in your calendar so you always have enough time to finish assignments before they are due. Create alerts and reminders so you don’t forget about important deadlines and dates.
3. Audit your day
Try auditing how you spend your time for a few days or a week, Track your time with an app, notebook, or a file on your computer, and you might be surprised at how much time you’ve spent on low-priority activities like watching Netflix or texting friends.
While taking time out to recharge and relax is important, your audit will show you how much time you might be able to free-up for higher priority activities. Becoming more conscious of your time could naturally motivate you to focus on goals like finishing your coursework or degree.
4. Use stress-management techniques
Some stress can energize and motivate you, but you’ll want to avoid burnout. Manage stress by scheduling breaks into your days. Reward yourself when you reach a major milestone and take time out for hobbies, socializing, and sleep.
Eating well and exercising regularly can also be good for stress management. Beyond lifestyle measures, learn breathing techniques, meditation, guided imagery, and other relaxation techniques to minimize stress. These can take as little as a few minutes a day and can make a big difference.
5. Conquer procrastination
Procrastination is a common hurdle for students, and it can eat away at your valuable time and decrease your confidence. Last-minute assignments can mean lower grades, which could defeat the purpose of your studies. By committing to taking charge and staying disciplined, you can beat procrastination.
Try different techniques to see what works for you. For example, you might procrastinate because you don’t know where to start with a study session. In this case, try breaking down reading materials or study exercises into manageable chunks before working on them systematically. Alternatively, you could track your tasks with a time-management app. Cutting out distractions like social media and streaming can also be beneficial. Finally, remind yourself of why you’re doing it. Display your goals on your wall or create a vision board to keep your overarching objective in mind and stay motivated.
Continuing your studies will come with challenges, but overcoming them could be the most rewarding part of your journey. In addition to these tips, you can harness the advantages of technology tools like calendar apps and distraction-blocking extensions to stay focused and organized.
Use chat apps to collaborate, share notes, and have discussions with your classmates. Choosing a virtual or distance-learning course can also help with the study-work balance. By staying committed and reminding yourself of the value of learning, you can successfully balance a demanding schedule of work and school.