When you’re already working a full-time job, adding study into the mix can seem intimidating. And that’s not even considering your family commitments. How do you find the time to satisfy all three of these important parts of your life?
Going back into study is a big step, so let us help you find your footing with five tips for bringing balance to a hectic life.
Take Stock of Your Time
An excellent first move is to start noting down exactly how you spend your time. This can be as simple as a day planner with hourly boxes that you fill in with whatever activity you’re doing at any one time. Once you have a good understanding of how you’re spending your days, you can start working out which activities are time sinks.
For instance, you might find that you spend a lot of time watching television, or that you're bogged down with chores you could defer to someone else. Choose non-vital activities to remove or downsize and make extra time for studying.
Understand Your Rhythms
Most people have a time of day where they’re most effective. For early birds, getting up at 6am to study before the kids wake up could be the best solution. For others, an extended lunchbreak, a trip to a cafe after work, or a late-night study session could serve as prime study time. Experiment to find the best place for study to fit into your life.
Some studies suggest that there are biologically inbuilt times of day that are more effective for one task or another:
- Morning is the best time for tests, writing, maths, and general problem solving
- Midday is ideal for practical tasks, such as any kind of physical practice, or paperwork
- Afternoon works for reading, so get your textbooks out then for some study!
Of course, your mileage may vary. The important thing is to try different methods and find out what works best for you.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Adding a qualification to your already busy life can take your stress to new heights. Ensuring that you continue to have enough downtime is vital. WebMD has some great advice on this topic.
A few things to try:
- Yoga classes
- Staying hydrated
- Getting enough rest
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Ensuring you get plenty of exercise is not only good for your physical health. It can also play a key role in your mental health by reducing your stress and anxiety levels.
Study at Work
If you’d like to develop your professional skills, see your role expand, or even try something completely new, speak to your manager about learning and development options at work.
They might cover the cost of the course, as well as allow you to use some of your work time to study it. This can make it an ideal option when you find your time or finances limited.
You’ll also be able to apply the skills that your course is teaching you to the work you’re doing, which helps consolidate your study and enables you to learn faster.
Identify Your Learning Style
Everyone learns differently, and again, you should experiment to find out which way works most effectively. There are lots of different models, one of which we covered in our learning style guide. Check out the quiz at the end to find out more about what style might work best for you.
Remember, the world-life-study balancing act is tough, but it’s also one that many people manage successfully. If you find yourself getting snowed under or stressed, reach out to people for help, whether it’s asking a family member to take on temporary babysitting duties or asking your academic tutor for additional support. You might be surprised by the support you receive when people know you’re striving to achieve your goals.