If you’ve been a fan of this blog for a while, then this post may sound familiar to you. I shared it on my old Wix blog, but I thought, why not give it another go?
Part-time students know – working full time and keeping up with their studies while balancing their other commitments and simultaneously trying to have a life, is no joke. I work full-time and study part-time through UNISA and it definitely isn’t easy.
I work every weekday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM (Fridays being an exception), go to the gym, run this blog, and still need to find time to study and have some sort of life (I don’t actually really have one).
Anyways, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks as this isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve attended a seminar. So I’ll be sharing them in this post.
It’s often difficult to get home after a long day at work and start doing schoolwork. With a little planning and better utilisation of time, one can find the time to get everything they need to get done and still have time for rest and relaxation.
Follow these tips to learn how to balance your studies and a full-time job so that you don’t lose your mind and stay on track with your studies while keeping your affairs in order.
How To Balance Studies & A Full-Time Job
Diarise all important dates
Once you’ve received your course outlines and study material for each subject, go through them and take note of all important dates such as assignment due dates, test and exam dates and diarise them.
It helps to have a huge desk calendar where you can write them all down on the relevant dates so you can see ahead and better plan how you’ll tackle the work.
Create a Timetable & Stick to It
Determine how much time you’ll need to cover the work for each subject (you’ll probably get a recommended study timetable that shows you how much time to spend on each subject), break it up into sections and decide how much time you’ll need to spend on each section.
Take into account your whole day when creating your timetable and break it up into 30-minute blocks. Keep in mind that it’s recommended to take a break in between study sessions.
You can even use excel to create a spreadsheet for the week.
Break each day up, for example:
06:00 AM wake up & work prep
07:30 work commute
12:00 -13: 00 lunch hour
13:00 – 16:30 work
16:30 – 17:00 driving to the gym
17:00 – 18:00 gym
18:00 – 18:30 home commute
18:30 – 19:00 dinner
19:00 – 19:20 wash dishes
19:20 – 20:00 study
You get the gist of it – tabulate your entire day up to and including bedtime.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see your days clearly and identify where you have and can create time to study. Don’t forget to account for your study breaks.
Most importantly, stick to your schedule as much as possible but remember that you can also switch things and be flexible. For example, some days you may take longer than usual to get home, so you’ll adjust your schedule accordingly.
Tackle assignments during downtime at work
You may have some slow days at work, like me, where you have more free time to be able to do your schoolwork. This is a great time to tackle your assignments.
You may not be able to necessarily complete them, but you can definitely get started.
If you don’t have an assignment due for a while, then you can use this time to study.
This is obviously not possible for all of us as our jobs may not allow us to be able to do our own things during office hours.
Use Technology to Help You Stay on Track
Google Docs spreadsheets offer an assignment tracker that you can use to keep track of your assignments for all your subjects.
I make use of a Habit Tracker to make sure I spend time doing schoolwork daily.
Additionally, I’ve downloaded the To-Do List app where I’ve added everything I need to do and the due dates to help me tick off asks I’ve completed and see what still needs to be done. I’ve input assignment due dates for all of my subjects and I also track personal tasks I need to do on the same app.
It really helps me to stay on top of things.
There are plenty of apps available to help you with whatever you need to make things easier for you.
Study or catch up on schoolwork during Your Lunchbreak
If you can’t do non-work-related things during work hours, then you can utilize your lunch break.
In instances where you can’t do this at your work desk, you can take your lunch when the lunchroom will be quiet and study there or find a spot nearby where you can get some work done.
I’ve gone to my car during lunch so that I can have a quiet space to read my school notes.
This is a great way not to fall behind because you’re at work all day and utilize as much of your day productively as possible.
It’ll also give you more time to relax a bit when you get home.
Wake Up an Hour Earlier
You know how the saying goes – the early bird catches the worm.
I’m personally still working on being a member of the 5 AM club. I wake up at 6 earliest but waking up early has the advantage of giving you more time to get things done.
If you wake up an hour earlier each day, then you can utilise that hour to study or get some other activity you usually do later out of the way first.
Early morning is also a great time to meditate and exercise, allowing you to get your mind right.
Get to Work an Hour Earlier
Continuing from the point above, if you can get to work an hour before opening time, you’ll have an entire hour to yourself of peace and quiet to study or do your assignments.
This is especially helpful if you want to use office equipment without bothering your colleagues (provided it’s allowed).
Being at work without the hubbub will make it easier for you to concentrate.
They say that procrastination is the thief of time so don’t fall into the trap!
Get things done as soon as you can and remember “don’t put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.”
If you can complete a task – do it and get it over and done with. This way you don’t lose time and you have enough time to do everything that you need to.
Plan Study Leave in Advance
Apply for study leave as soon as you can so that you can get the days that you need and want and have adequate time to prepare for exams.
Use Audio Notes To Revise on The Go
Convert your notes to audio so that you can listen to them on the go.
Audio notes are great for when stuck you’re in traffic, walking or you want to pass time and be productive on the commute to or from work.
You can also use “Read Aloud” if you want to listen to your Word doc notes while doing chores.
It is said that using audio notes to study helps with information retention so give it a try and see the effect it has on your study success.
Ask For Help As Soon As You Need It
If you find yourself struggling with anything, reach out to someone who can help.
Don’t wait until you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Find a friend or fellow classmate to help you with subjects you’re struggling with or find help online. There are online study groups available, one of which is TogetherWePass. Your school should also have some so find out and join the ones relevant to you.
Identify the people in your life that you can reach out to for support when needed and lean on them.
It’s important to know when you need to seek help so that you don’t get overwhelmed and feel like you’re drowning. You do not have to do everything by yourself.
Remember, the journey towards achieving your educational goals may be tough, but the rewards are totally worth it.
I wish you all the best with your studies and I hope you find these tips useful (save this post for later).
Looking for useful study tips? Click here.
If you have any tips you’d like to add, please share them in the comments.