Juggling all the demands that life throws at you is something we all have to manage. Throw some part-time courses or extra life commitments into the mix and it can be overwhelming to say the least. Fear not as this article teaches you exactly how to balance work and study like a boss! These simple yet effective steps will ensure you’re able to balance your life and work effectively while also acing exams.
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How to balance work and study
Following the below steps will help you to effectively balance your time between work, study and life.
- Complete a time audit
- Identify essential and non-essential activities
- Identify times when you can fit in study
- Plan out your weeks
- Utilize alternative study methods
- Notice when you’re getting tired or stressed
- Location, location, location!
When studying and working simultaneously, you’re looking at up to 20 a week for part-time study and around 40 hours a week for full time work. Therefore, your free time will be limited. Balancing your time appropriately will ensure that you make the most of your time and you don’t burn yourself out in the process! Getting tasks done will be immensely more effective when you have it all under control. We’ll go through exactly how you can level up in the next steps.
According to a Stanford University study, once we work over 55 hours in a week, our performance begins to decline. So much so in fact that it is often pointless continuing to work. Source
How to balance work and study
1. Complete a time audit
A time audit involves writing down all the activities that take up every part of your day for a week. Whether it’s sleeping, scrolling on your phone, working, working out, eating or reading blogs about how to balance study and work….
By writing it down, you can more clearly see how your time is spent.
And don’t cheat!
The more honest and detailed with this you are, the better you will be able to highlight opportunities where you can save time.
2. Identify essential and non-essential activities
Once you have logged your time audit, the next step is to categorize your activities by identifying essential and pleasure activities.
It’s also crucial to identify time-wasting activities. We all do them, but when you log exactly how long you spend mindlessly scrolling your phone, you will probably be shocked!
Examples of essential activities include:
- Eating healthy food
Examples of non-essential activities include:
- Lie ins
- Nights out
- Socializing with friends or family for extended periods
- Day trips
- Scrolling your phone aimlessly
- Watching excessive TV/Netflix/Disney
- Excess overtime at work
With these tasks, you can either continue doing them, cut back, limit them to evenings or weekends or just cut them out for a while.
Of course, how strict you need to be will differ for each person. Some of you have full-time jobs, kids and dependents that rely on them. More of you are young adults with less commitments.
Additionally, working and studying doesn’t mean becoming a monk and isolating yourself away and declining every single social event or fun activity.
If you have a plan in place, you should be able to have fun; it just will need to be cut back, primarily around exams and assignment deadlines.
Tip: Consider any events you must attend in the future, e.g., appointments, birthdays, booked vacation.
3. Identify times when you can fit in study
If you’re someone who already has a busy schedule, you will need to optimize as many minutes of the day as possible for study and efficiency. You might not realize it, but there are a vast number of opportunities where you can squeeze in study throughout the day.
Fit time in around your essential and non-essential activities. With study, you can complete this at any time that suits you and your schedule. You might find a few hours in the evening after work or on weekends.
Below, I highlight some of my insider tricks and tips for when I need to make every minute count!
|Instead of this||Try this|
|Lie-ins||Spend less time in bed and study|
|Staying up late||Adopt a regular bedtime|
|Socializing with friends or family for hours on end||Have shorter or less frequent meet ups|
|Day trips||Visiting nearby attractions or activities|
|Scrolling your phone aimlessly||Reading study notes on your phone|
|Watching excessive TV/Netflix/Disney||Cut back to approx. 30 mins a day|
|Spending hours every evening/weekend cooking||Batch cook or learn some quick recipes|
|Listening to music/radio||Listen to audio|
|Wasting commuting time||Bring study notes to read on the bus/train|
|Spending hours commuting||Ask if you can work from home more often|
|Spending time food shopping||Get home delivery|
|Cramming excessively before exams||Take a few days off work to fit in study|
Tip: If you’re really short on time, ask someone to cook for you, purchase healthy meals and have quick foods to eat on hand, e.g., microwaveable porridge, sandwiches.
4. Plan out your time strategically
Establishing a plan around your study will be vital and an invaluable aid to your learning. By planning out, you will have more structure and know exactly what you need to work on and when.
A plan without action is just a dream…
The best approach is to plan out each week and take into consideration any assignments or exams coming up. Within those times, evaluate how you can make the most of the time.
For instance, if it’s study, will you read aimless through lectures or proactively take useful notes?
Additionally, the best time for study is often in the morning when you’re energized and focused.
I have spoken with numerous working parents who took on a part-time course. They mentioned that to fit in study, they had to get their spouse or family to assist with childcare and household duties.
Once you have a set agenda, it also allows you to plan fun and rest time that you won’t feel guilty about.
Tip: Writing down your plan makes it more concrete and likely you’ll commit to it. You can also share it with others, so they know when to leave you alone.
5. Utilize alternative study methods
Studying is no longer merely sitting at a desk reciting notes until your brain goes numb. Nowadays with online platforms being more widely used, you can make studying more interactive.
Making use of your time when you’re commuting, walking or even out doing chores will enable you to squeeze some valuable knowledge in.
- Downloading or listening to webinars or lectures while you’re on the go.
- Make your own study notes and then put them on your phone to read while you’re waiting in a queue or commuting.
- Watch YouTube videos or listen to related podcasts that are less taxing on the brain when you’re tired.
6. Notice when you’re getting tired or stressed
We’ve all had days where we hit a wall and could not focus, or we became overwhelmed thinking about all the work we have to do. If you’re particularly tired or stressed, there will be little value attempting to study when you’re getting nothing done.
You may already be juggling the challenges of a full-time job.
Putting extra hours in on evenings and at the weekend on top of that can leave you feeling tired, especially when deadlines are impending or you’re cramming for exams.
We’ve all heard the phrase, less is more…
What would be more valuable is to take a break, recharge your batteries and destress.
Especially if you’ve completed over 55 hours between work and study. By taking a break, the next time you go to study, you’ll be more rejuvenated and productive.
I notice myself when I take an afternoon or a day off, I’m much more efficient the next day!
The same principle applies to being more productive on a 4-day work week.
7. Location, location, location!
Where you study will be a fundamental decider in how effective your study is. If you’re working at home in a crowded house or on the corner of a busy kitchen table, your productivity will plummet.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a desk in a quiet room or if you can fit in a few hours after work in the office, then you’re likely to be more productive.
Sometimes coming home after work and starting into study leads to more distractions. You might end up changing your clothes, putting on the dinner or get caught chatting to someone.
Whereas if you stayed at the office, you’d already have a computer open, possibly fewer people distracting you and less distractions than at home.
You might want to run this by your manager and ensure it conforms with the IT fair use policy.
Studying will be made more pleasant if you have a decent desk setup and a comfortable ergonomic chair. If you’re looking for good quality items that’ll make you want to study, my recommendation is check out Office Furniture 2 Go affordable furniture with a lifetime guarantee
Following these invaluable strategies above will be a surefire way of making the most of your time and learning the lifelong skill of time management!
What’s more, the above can be used throughout life to ensure you’re using your time wisely!
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on the world of study and work, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Work And Study Pros And Cons – What To Expect & Helpful Tips
- Is Work Or School Harder? – 12 Painful & Proven Factors!
- Is Work Or Study Harder? 14 Scary Factors To Make You Think!
- Is Full Time Work Hard? – 10 Factors To Consider!
- 7 Hidden Things To Know About Work V Study