How to balance working with studying
by Yellow 230 Days
Stick to a manageable schedule
Whether or not timetables work for you, keeping a schedule will help you stay informed about upcoming projects and deadlines. You can choose to draw up separate schedules for work and studying, or you can combine the two into one comprehensive schedule. With the latter, you're more likely to notice clashes and work around them.
Bonus tip: Be realistic. Don't cram too much into one day, and always leave periods of free time between switching from working to studying or vice-versa.
Trying to do everything at once is a recipe for disaster. If you start thinking about a pending school assignment while you're at the office working on an important task, you will inevitably lose focus. Multi-tasking can consume a lot of your energy, leaving you more stressed. Apart from that, it will take longer to finish what you're working on. An effective way of avoiding multi-tasking is to plan ahead. Be it to-do lists, checklists or planners - use whatever you prefer to make sure you know your deadlines well in advance and are on top of everything.
Balancing working with studying, and being successful in both areas, is already tough enough. If you procrastinate it will get even tougher, because your work load will eventually become unbearable. Once you're assigned something school-related, work on it immediately instead of waiting for the deadline to creep up on you. Conduct preliminary research and jot down basic ideas as soon as you receive an assignment. This will keep the momentum going, making writing the assignment - whenever you find time in between work shifts - less aggravating.
Carry notes or a textbook with you
Never leave the house without a textbook in hand or in your bag, or short notes for practicality's sake. If you use the bus to travel, or tend to get lifts from others, you can use your commutes to go over a few pages at a time. If you drive, you can still use other times of the day when you're not at home to do the same, like during lunch breaks or while bored in waiting rooms. Of course, always whip out your textbook within reason. You can't possibly have your nose buried in one all the time!
Learn how to manage your time
One of the biggest challenges of achieving the work-study balance is to perfectly organise your tasks in feasible time frames. Prioritising the different aspects of your life is a key starting point. Busy school months might mean making an effort to get home from work as quickly as possible to have time to study, or using your weekend and other leisurely opportunities to revise. Don't worry! These small sacrifices will pay off eventually.
Bonus tip: Master your time management skills in order to reach all your deadlines. You might find some helpful suggestions about improving your time management here!
Take as many breaks as you need
There will be days when you will feel absolutely exhausted, to the point where you might end up considering halting your studies to focus on your work life. Avoid such stressful situations by allowing yourself enough time to relax whenever you feel overwhelmed. Remember that aside from your job and your academics, you also have a personal life that deserves its own time. Taking a break and logging off from your daily routine every once in a while will surely have a positive effect on your overall energy and efficiency.
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