7 Tips for Creating a Balance Between Study and Work

While it would be wonderful to be able to devote all of your time to your studies, that’s just not on the cards for many people. When you’re working and studying at the same time, it’s important to keep the balance between both activities on a good level to ensure success in the long term.

To help, we’ve put together some tips that will help you keep that balance steady.

Tip #1 – Get organised

Working while studying is completely possible, but it can take some organisational juggling. At the start of each semester, be sure to put key dates and assessments into your phone or desk calendar. That way you can do things like apply for leave from work, and give yourself adequate time to get things done if you know you may be time-poor.

If you have a different work schedule every week, be sure to send your manager a copy of your class hours so there won’t be any clashes.

Another tip is to make sure you are ‘first in first served’ when it comes to choosing your desired tutorial time that will work out with your job hours.

Tip #2 – Try to have (and keep) a schedule

While some student jobs don’t necessarily lend themselves to a reliable schedule, it’s still a good idea to try and create a rough timetable for yourself. Dedicating set hours in the day to certain subjects helps your study sessions become easy, and you’re much less likely to find yourself unprepared for big assessments.

Dedicate some time in your study schedule to plan your week ahead. This is especially helpful if you aren’t sure when you’ll be working, as you can make sure you cover everything that needs to be covered. Many people like to sit down on Sundays to plan their study schedules, or it’s also a good idea to do so on the day you get your work shifts. This 20-odd minutes of planning will help bring you a lot closer to your accomplishments.

Tip #3 – Find ways to stay focused

While your mind may want to multi-task, try to focus on getting one task done at a time. Trying to do everything at once is a good way to get drained.

Don’t let procrastination take hold of you. While anything may seem preferable to starting that assignment, remember that the sooner you get it done, the sooner you can get a life. Our brains can justify all sorts of procrastinations – procrasta-cooking, procrasta-cleaning, procrasta-texting – but if you try and keep your focus, you can then enjoy these activities without the guilt.

That said, if you find yourself spending hours on Instagram or deep in a Netflix binge, don’t beat yourself up. Dust yourself off and get back in the zone.

Tip #4 – Do your research at the start

Thoroughly read the course guide and class syllabus at the start of semester. These guides have been crafted to make your life easier. By taking an hour or so to really go over your course guide and consider the workload, readings and assessments, you can get a good idea about how much time you will need to devote to your studies to understand the content. You can then make a truly informed decision about how to best balance your work commitments with your studies.

Plus your new teachers will love you – they usually have to spend a lot of time answering questions that are already covered in the course guide.

Tip #5 – Study on your commute

Do you have to travel a fair distance between home, work and school? Having mini study sessions during this time can be a great way to memorise facts and be productive. Plan some flashcards, audio notes if you are driving, or bring a reading. Even 10 minutes of focused attention can make a real difference to understanding your course.

Tip #6 – Consider studying part-time

It’s tempting to whirl through your studies as fast as possible. People want their qualification so they can step into their dream career quickly, but sometimes it can be difficult to strike that balance between making a living, studying, and still having a fulfilling personal life.

Studying part-time is defined as studying three units or less. Dropping a subject can make your life a lot easier, especially if you are dealing with a lot of work and life commitments. There’s no rule that says you have to take on full-time study. In fact, many people benefit from taking their time. It takes off the pressure, and you can really mull over your readings and assessments instead of mindlessly churning through.

Be honest and kind to yourself – could you benefit from more free time? Do you wish you could get really involved with a few subjects, but have too many commitments to devote the time you want? Don’t be scared to talk to your course coordinator, and keep your eyes on those census dates so you can avoid paying for units you want to drop.

ICI offers a learning schedule that suits you – by completing your education with a career-focused distance educator, you’re able to structure your study around your lifestyle and work. To find out more about why you should choose ICI today, visit our information page here.

Tip #7 – Devote some time to relaxation

While you may feel guilty, taking a day off can actually be helpful when it comes to keeping up with studies and work. Free time allows you to recharge and get ready to keep going.

Remember, getting an education is meant to enrich your life. Look after yourself and get some balance between work, study and play – it always gives you better results in the end.

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Gladys is the Head of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.