How to Balance Work With Continuing Education
You’ve decided you want to go back to school, but aren’t willing to give up the day job. Let’s face it — there are still bills to pay and groceries to buy. While this means you’ll probably have less spare time, it is possible to balance your day in order to get everything done and stay sane. Here are a few tips for keeping it together as you learn while you work.
Manage Your Time
Pursuing both paid work and continuing education means time will become a precious commodity. Get organized, keep a diary filled with important dates, and allocate the appropriate amounts of time to each of your ventures.
Make a commitment to reassessing your time budget at regular intervals, the same as you would a household budget. If you’re consistently running short in one area or another, it’s better to make tough choices now than suffer later.
Don’t forget to schedule time for relaxation and socializing, too. If there’s no downtime, you’ll burn out and risk losing focus.
Talk to Your Boss
Going back to school is a big change, and one that you shouldn’t try to keep a secret. Be honest with your manager about your plans, and show that you’re proactively taking steps to make sure it won’t affect the quality of your work. Depending on the amount of time you need to commit to studying, you may have made the choice to go part-time for a while.
Schedule a meeting with your manager as early as possible, so that they can be informed and try to meet your needs. If part-time, freelance, or flexible hours aren’t available, it might be worth starting a job hunt early. Be honest with yourself about how much work you can handle. PayScale’s free salary report will help you figure out the typical compensation for your experience, job title, and geographic location.
Accept That You Can’t Do Everything
While you’re working and studying simultaneously, some time-consuming hobbies might have to be put on the back-burner, while others will have to be rearranged around your new schedule. For example, exercising regularly is a priority for many — and will actually allow you to be more productive — but you might not be able to commit to this year’s half-marathon.
Take a look at how you currently spend your time and what might need to go. Whether it’s binge-watching Netflix or drinks after work with colleagues, there will be something you do regularly that might need to be cut out. It’s only temporary, but the reality is, your time just got a lot more precious.
Tell us What you Think
Have you studied and worked at the same time before? Do you have any time management tips to share? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on Twitter.