Study and work – the balancing act
Whether you’re a student who is working part-time, or whether you’re working and studying part-time, juggling the two is not an easy task, it’s a balancing act.
With the world’s ever-growing population, the job market is slightly more limited than what it was years ago. We have to do everything we can to stand out by earning another degree or gaining that much-needed experience that everyone requires in a job ad. But, the cost of living is expensive, so you have to work to keep yourself afloat while studying.
Sound familiar? Don’t stress, we’ve got some tips for you on perfecting your balancing act!
The most important thing to do when you’ve got a lot on your plate is to manage your time effectively. The easiest way to do this is to be organised and to create a schedule for yourself. Your programme should include your time at work, your study time, and some “you” time (we’ll have a look at this later on).
If you’re smart with your schedule, you could incorporate a study session in your lunch hour at work or create study time for when things are quiet at work.
If you’re working part-time, schedule your shifts so that they don’t interfere with classes, online tutorials or exams. This is an easy way to limit your stress levels from rising too high.
Student Brands gives a great tip; use the calendar app on your smartphone to track your schedule and manage your time. We use our phones every day, so it’s quick and easy just to check it to see what you have to do on a particular day. If you prefer writing on a piece of paper, make sure you have a diary so that everything is in one place.
Having a plan is the easiest way to make sure that you get everything done.
Life is unpredictable, you never know what could happen at any minute of the day, so to avoid the stress of the unknown, be flexible with the schedule you’ve created for yourself. Maybe you’re working late one evening, and you won’t be able to study when you get home. You might feel unprepared for an exam and might have to cancel one of your shifts at work to study a bit more.
Rather than letting this worry you, have a mindset that your schedule is adjustable and you are able to adapt with it as you go along. There are, however, some things that you cannot be flexible with and learning to work around those is an excellent skill to have. For example, use your leave days to stay at home and study if you need them. Lots of companies have study leave, so remember to ask HR about them.
Something that should be included in your schedule, that isn’t so obvious all the time, is “you time”. Rest and recovery are as important as the work you’re putting in. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and when you’re tired, you make mistakes.
By taking time off, you’ll be able to take care of yourself by managing your stress (meditation and yoga are good options), looking after your health (eating healthy foods and exercising), and spending time with people who are important to you. Doing activities that you enjoy, like watching a series or grabbing a coffee with a friend, are essential to incorporate while you have a busy schedule.
If you don’t take breaks and holidays, you could burn out and what use would you be to yourself then? There is too much emphasis on being busy and working and not enough on time off and chilling.
Should You Multitask?
Vikas Rana advises that you shouldn’t try to multitask when you have a list of tasks that need completing. This takes more of your energy and could leave you feeling confused, which could cause you to make mistakes. It’s best to focus on one task at a time with small breaks in between. By only focusing on one task, all your attention is on that job, and you’ll create something to be proud of.
According to Time, multitasking is something that’s in our heads, we’re not really doing it. One study found that only 2.5 % of people are able to really multitask. We live in a fast-paced world, and sometimes it might be a good idea to slow down and just focus on one thing at a time.
What’s Most Important?
Make what’s essential a priority for you, but be realistic. If you have an assignment deadline and there’s a big event on the same night, you need to consider that the task might be more important than the event. Maybe you could compromise, you could still make the event, but you might be late.
This tip relates back to being flexible, don’t punish yourself but set boundaries, tell yourself that you can go to the party after you’ve finished your assignment.
Complete the tasks that need completing, don’t procrastinate.
Work and Plan Ahead
This tip goes hand-in-hand with sticking to your schedule, try working ahead when you have the opportunity. This will give you the upper hand and will minimise stress at the same time. If you’re up to date with your work, and you’re still feeling productive, carry on working, that can lighten the next day or next week’s load for you.
At the same time, if you know that you have a wedding or a birthday coming up in the next week, try to schedule some extra shifts or study hours into your current week. That way, you’re ahead with your work so you can take the time to spend with your family or friends.
It’s All About Balance
Balancing work, study, and life will never be easy, but with these tips, you should be able to get through it.