By | Karen Anthony
If you are concerned about finding a balance between studying online and working, you are not alone. There are many people who need to work while completing their online degrees. Juggling all the responsibilities and tasks you need to complete in a day is not easy at all, so it’s very important to try and achieve a perfect balance between your academic commitments, your job, and still find time for your family.
Whether you are a student working to pay your bills and tuition or taking an online degree to advance your career, balancing study and work can be overwhelming. Luckily, it can be accomplished with some self-discipline and good planning.
These 5 tips will show how to find a balance between work and online study.
Create a Schedule and Stick to It
When you’re juggling between work commitments and online studying, time management is of the essence. Set up a monthly or weekly schedule to organize your time more efficiently. Try to figure out which days of the week and what times of the day are most suitable for you to study. For instance, maybe you feel most rested and energized after the weekend? Or if you’re a night owl, you could stay later in the night to catch up with your study material.
Regardless of which times you choose, make sure to stick to your schedule. Writing it down might help or, even better, placing it somewhere you can always see it. Consider also sharing it with family members and coworkers so that everyone is aware of what your focus is for that month/week.
Make Sure Everyone is Informed
Of course, keeping your study and work schedules completely separated will prove to be impossible, but you can try to minimize the chances of them clashing.
Make sure your superiors and colleagues are informed about all your unavailabilities in advance. This includes study group sessions, class times, and exams.
On the other hand, university staff is well aware that a big number of their students have regular jobs, so if you find it hard to meet a certain deadline, talk to your tutor or a student adviser to find a solution. The earlier you raise your concerns the more time there will be to come up with an action plan that best suits your needs.
Have a Separate Space for Studying
The great thing about online learning is that you can study wherever you are. However, having a distraction-free space could make it easier for you to focus after a long day at work.
Some people find it easier to study at home, while others prefer to study at their workplace after the workday is over. The important thing is to find a space that works for you and your learning style.
Stay Connected with Your Classmates
With online studies, you don’t have regular contact with classmates, so it can be easy to lose motivation. Who could understand you better when it comes to the pressures you’re experiencing daily and encourage you through the tough times than your peers?
Rely on technology like email, social media, Skype, and WhatsApp to stay in touch, support each other, but also to ask for help when you need it.
Rely on Your Family
Speaking of asking for help, don’t forget that your family is there for you. Those close to you are aware of how difficult it can be to balance work, studies, social life, and family. So, make sure to let family members and close friends know that you are studying for a degree and allow them to support you.
For instance, you could ask your mom to look after your children so that you can study for a couple of hours. If your kids are a bit older, they can get involved as well by helping with everyday tasks like cleaning and taking the dog for a walk.
Stay Healthy and Keep Stress at Bay
Studying and working at the same time can cause your stress levels to hit the roof but, fortunately, there are ways to keep stress at bay.
Eating a balanced diet, drinking lots of water, and getting enough quality sleep will help you manage stress but also boost your memory, productivity, and brain performance. Activities like exercise, meditation, and yoga can also significantly reduce stress and provide benefits for both your mental and physical health.
Stay Focused on Your Goal
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself why you chose to study online while working. If you find it hard to stay focused on your goal, consider creating a vision board of your life in the future, write it down, or talk about it to your friends and family and ask them to remind you when you feel like giving up.
Don’t forget to reward yourself whenever you complete a task or reach a certain milestone. It could be a long bath, a nice dinner, shopping, or going away for the weekend. Choose a reward that will make you happy and motivate you to do your best.
Finding a balance between study and work is different for everyone and depends on the student’s background, learning style, etc. Avoid comparing yourself with your classmates and try to find out what works best for you.
By following these 7 tips, you should be able to find a healthy balance between study and work, and maybe even have some fun in the process.