Holding down a job while going to school can be really hard. These days, with distance learning programs and the high availability of college courses online, more and more people are trying to earn a degree while still working their day job. Just balancing the demands of work life and home life is hard enough, but carrying a full course load on top of that is almost asking for disaster. However, it doesn't have to be that way. It is possible to manage your work life and make time for furthering your education without failing at both. The key is to have a plan and make it happen, rather than hope that you'll have enough time to get everything done.
If you're struggling to manage work and school, or if you're thinking about adding college classes to your already hectic life, here are a few tips that can help:
Make organization a priority - Getting organized and staying that way is the best thing you can do to ensure your success. It might take a little more time at the beginning to come up with a system that works for you, but it's definitely worth the effort. Having everything you need to start your day prepared the night before will save time and it will help you make sure that you have what you need, when you need it. With your school work, keep your resources organized so that you won't have to waste time finding things or figuring out where you left off. If you are feeling disorganized, evaluate your typical day and look for places where things don't go as smoothly. These are the places to start working on better organization.
Pick your job carefully - If you're already in school and looking for a job, try to look for jobs that will give you the most flexibility. An intense full-time job might not be possible. You may find that it works better for you to pick a job that is less demanding, at least just until you finish school. When you think about it, most college students work at jobs in retail, restaurants or other positions that offer flexibility. It's also a good idea to make sure that your employer knows that you are furthering your education.
Get a buy in from your family - If you are going back to school and have a family, make sure that everyone is on board with your decision. You'll need the support of your partner and your children. Everyone will be losing time with you, so make sure that they are all committed to your goal so that they can help you manage the demands of home and family with school and work.
Set aside time for school - It's really important to set aside time for your school work. Too often, people try to fit in time to study or complete assignments when they can, and it can cause them to get seriously behind. To prevent this, have a plan and stick to it.
Keep a schedule - Having a schedule really helps make time management easier. Plan out when you will be working on your school work, when you will be at your job and when you will be taking care of other things you are responsible for. Once you have a schedule, stick to it as much as you can. Otherwise, it's too easy for other things to come up and leave you with no time to get something done. Then, you'll have to decide if you should miss work or turn in an assignment late and no one wants to have to be in that position. Having a schedule makes things so much easier.
It's possible to go to school, hold down a job and manage your family, but it isn't easy. It takes commitment, time management and self control to deal with problems as they arise and not become discouraged and overwhelmed. If you're already in this situation, it's not to late to take a deep breath and get organized.
Have you tried to go to school and work at the same time? What helped you get through it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.