Studying for further qualifications while you’re in full-time work can certainly be a challenge. It’s difficult to manage your work schedule alone, but adding studies to that can take its toll on your sanity. Even the most organized of people would find it hard, so if you’re tackling this problem at the moment, you should give yourself a break. For those of you who also have a family household to run, you’re basically a superhero! If you’re struggling to stay calm and worrying about your deadlines, here are ten simple tips to keep you in perspective.
Do it all online
eLearning is the best option nowadays, especially if you’re working full-time. It’s much more flexible as you can study whenever you want. All lectures and materials are accessible on the cloud. If you’re interested in taking an online mba course, for example, these are just as prestigious as in-person courses. You’ll also be given access to a library of resources. Online courses also provide as much support as you need from both tutors and your peers.
Keep your boss in the loop
It’s not a good idea to take on an online course without keeping your boss in the loop. If you’re worried about how to approach your boss about your studies, it’s easier than you think. It will actually benefit the company if you gain a higher qualification. Your boss will, therefore, be likely to be understanding and the company might even sponsor you to do it. Keep your boss as informed as possible, particularly of any exams or important deadlines. This way, you can work together to organize your work schedule around your studies as best as possible.
Make a realistic schedule – and stick to it
Find your own style. If you’re more comfortable organizing things on your phone or other devices, you can find several apps to help you. Use a calendar and write down all the important dates for your course. If these are for assignments that might take some time, add warning dates or countdown reminders to your calendar. Add your personal errands to your plan as well. Many people like using to-do lists for the sweet satisfaction you get from ticking things off.
Find your ideal studying environment
Figure out if you prefer studying at home, or out somewhere whether it be the library or a quiet cafe. Create a space for yourself at home where you can spend your study periods. The best time of day to study depends on you. Your work schedule you might not always give you the luxury of choosing, but it’s useful to know when you are most productive. Schedule in some study time, particularly when you know you’re less likely to be distracted.
Don’t take on too much
If you’re feeling an unbearable pressure don’t be afraid to say no to people. Make sure your boss and coworkers are fully aware of your studies. This shouldn’t be a problem as highly qualified professionals will be an asset to the company and it’s in their benefit to support employees’ studies. If there’s something going on in your personal life that it’s getting in the way of your work or studies don’t be afraid to confide in your boss or tutor respectively.
Focus on the end goal
Keep yourself motivated by focussing on what you’ve achieved so far and by remembering that this is a temporary situation. Think of your future as there are many ways studying can benefit your career. Always keep your end goal in sight and remember the reasons why you chose your course. Make sure you fit in enough exercise and time with friends and family. It’s important to stay balanced and motivated.
Seek professional advice
If you feel overwhelmed at any point don’t forget that there is plenty of professional help available. Speak to your course tutor whenever you have any doubts or queries. Make sure you have good communication going with your employer. Explain the level of your workload and be realistic about the hours you can do.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Eat properly and get plenty of sleep. Don’t use your tight schedule as an excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle. As difficult as it may seem, try to fit in some exercise as well. It will take a lot of discipline, but you’ll feel better for it. The healthier you are, the better you’ll perform both at work and in your studies. Getting enough sleep is key, try to avoid staying up all night cramming, especially if you’ve got work the night day. This could end up being counter-productive in the long run. Take plenty of time to practice self-care when you can, and don’t let yourself burnout.
Take advantage of technology
You’re lucky as this couldn’t be a better time to study. There are plenty of study apps and online resources out there, you’ll have all the help you need at your fingertips. Take advantage of technology to help you. There’s not only infinite information online, but plenty of tips on advice on writing and completing various assignments. Try to limit your screen time, however. A bit of downtime in front of the TV is fine of course but don’t slip into full procrastination. It can also be difficult to concentrate with the TV in the background.
Use your free time productively
The concept of free time might seem a little alien at the moment, but try to make the most out of it. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to plan how to use your free constructively in order to help balance your day. If you have any gaps, for example, your commute to work, you could study in the period. It’s better to try and assign slots to fit in studying and try to stick to it, then plan any chores, hobbies, or socializing around these. Remember to always focus on why you’re doing this and that pretty soon, you’ll be able to relax again. Keep going and stay motivated!