How You Can Earn a Degree While Keeping a Full-Time Job
Undoubtedly, balancing work and college is hard. For one, you must be productive at work to ensure you have enough money to fund your studies. Plus, you need to find time and mental energy to attend class, study by yourself, write essays and prepare for exams. Fortunately, online undergraduate courses and other study-at-your-own-pace classes can make things a bit easier. Still, every working student has to face tons of challenges daily to strike a balance between keeping a job and completing a degree.Every working student has to face tons of challenges daily to strike a balance between keeping a job and completing a degree. Click To Tweet
So here are some helpful tactics to help you manage your time and energy while balancing a degree with a full-time job:
Be honest about your plans and struggles
One of the first key steps to balancing a degree with your full-time job is communicating with your support system, including your boss. So first, talk to your employer. Tell them you’re enrolling in an online degree program and may need more vacation leaves or have to work odd hours sometimes for exams. Many workplaces can be flexible. Your boss may even appreciate that you’re taking the time and effort to earn your degree and be more valuable to the organization. So don’t be afraid to have that conversation.
Then, talk to your family, friends, and support network. Tell them what you’re doing and that you may be too busy to hang out with them sometimes, and you’ll likely need their support. When they know what you’re going through, it’s easier for them to lend a hand and be more understanding of your situation.
Also, communicate with yourself. Make sure to check in with yourself from time to time. Your situation can get intense; acknowledging how you’re doing and when to take a break is a good form of self-care.
Use a realistic daily schedule
Having a calendar for your daily schedule puts you in control. It can help you stay organized, focus on what matters most, and help you overcome procrastination. Start with time blocking. It’s more of a skeleton rather than a set of hard-and-fast rules. Take some of these tips to get started:
- Set “bookends” for each day
Think about your routines in the morning and at night, and then set a sort of bookend for your most important tasks. For instance, set a two-hour reading block each morning and night. This way, you get to read some articles and reports you need for school before and after working full-time.
- Block a different time and day for most important projects
Set aside time for your crucial projects. The key here is that you set what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. Other than blocking hours or days for these tasks, utilize online apps to help you stay focused. For instance, install RescueTime for Google Calendar. Use #focustime in the Google Calendar event name or description. The RescueTime app will automatically block distracting websites and social media apps on your phone or laptop for the entire duration of that event or task schedule.
- Schedule hours for both breaks and catch-up tasks
For a schedule to work, of course, it has to be realistic. So be sure to include time for breaks, meals, social time, hangouts, and other non-school and non-work tasks that keep you happy and relaxed. Also, set aside time for catch-up tasks. Let’s face it; sometimes, tasks take longer than you anticipated. So to make your schedule realistic, be sure to block time to catch up on some of your tasks at work or school.
Listen to your body
Besides knowing when to take your much-needed breaks, listening to your body also means following your natural energy highs and lows. You may have moments in a day where you’re more energetic and alert. Do most of your important work when you have the most energy, and then schedule a reading or more passive activities when your energy is naturally low. That way, you can truly maximize your time daily.Do most of your important work when you have the most energy. Click To Tweet
Balancing a nine-to-five with online classes is, indeed, a challenge. But with help from others and realistic planning, you can stick to a productive routine both at work or in school and earn your degree in no time.