A Better Balance: How to Manage Working & Studying at the Same Time

Why would you pursue further studies when you already have a job? 

For some, a burning desire to continue to learn, grow, and build on their personal development calls their name. For others, the opportunity for career progression, and a higher earning potential, is the main motivator. For example, if you’re a registered nurse, you may be tempted to pursue higher education in specialized areas of advanced practice. After all, a Master of Science in Nursing salary is considerably higher than what you can expect to earn as an entry-level RN. You might also be confused if you should study MBBS while working.

But the truth? Taking on a higher education degree while also working full-time is a challenging commitment. Here’s how to balance your heavy workload – ideally, without completely burning out in the process.

study work balance

Tip # 1: Forward Planning and Prioritizing 

If you want to get ahead, be sure to familiarize yourself with your course outline ahead of time. Get to know exactly when your assessment and assignment submission dates are, and make sure you diarize them. Doing this will enable you to map out and visualize your plan for your university semester. Some weeks, you may have more assignments due than others. These are the weeks you’ll need to prioritize your study workload above other commitments. Perhaps, you’ll need to stay in with your textbook for the weekend or put in extra study hours before and after work. If your workplace is flexible, you may even be able to request an annual leave day to prioritize preparing and completing a particularly important assessment.

Mapping out your workload in advance will enable you to be prepared, and to prioritize important tasks. Do you have an essay that’s worth a hefty percentage of your grade due for submission the week before the end of the semester? It might be necessary to say ‘no’ to any social commitments you’re invited to that week. Need to catch up on weekly readings? Try to commit to actioning these regularly, rather than letting them pile up. The best part about doing this? Completing your readings in line with your weekly course outline will enable you to be actively involved in contributing to class discussions around the weekly topic, as well staying as on top of your key learning outcomes throughout the semester.

Tip # 2: Time Management Techniques

When you’ve got a lot on your plate, managing your time is the key to your success. Some top time management techniques? Here are our tips:

Task Batching

Are you facing a mountain of similar tasks? For example, you may be required to complete a series of pop quizzes around your weekly reading material. By task batching, you can focus on completing as many of these quizzes as possible at one time. This will get you into the groove of completing that particular activity, and develop a rhythm that helps you get through the tasks more efficiently. 

Avoid Multi-Tasking

Contrary to popular opinion, multitasking is, in fact, not the most efficient or productive way to work. Consider instead, scheduling an hour of power. Doing this allows you to focus on being as productive as you can for a set block of time, without distractions. Concentrating specifically on doing as much as you can within that set time can be surprisingly effective. 

Distraction Blocking

Find yourself getting easily distracted? Try a productivity-enhancing focus app. These smartphone applications can help you make the most of your task-batching and hours of power by blocking pop-ups like distracting emails and messages, and other focus-breaking notifications. 

Tip # 3: Look After Yourself

Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself. Yes, you may need to make some small sacrifices for long-term gain. Like, for example, saying no to certain social commitments when your study workload is particularly high, or taking an annual leave day from work here and there to focus on your assessments. 

But in the end, the results will be worth it. Being able to juggle work and study commitments shows resilience, dedication, and commitment. By taking on this challenge, you are not only adding to your personal growth. Other advantages – like career progression, and a higher salary, could also be at your fingertips.

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