Being a student and having a job at the same time can be challenging especially if you are married and have children. In order to minimize stress and avoid burnout, you have to balance your time carefully between your study, work and family. Managing your time efficiently and using them effectively is the key to your success.
Follows are a few tips on how you can make the time to study while not sacrificing much of your other responsibilities.
Get your life organized, from personal matters, home, family to study matters. Being organized means having everything in its place and ready for access whenever the need arises. This saves a lot of time otherwise wasted for searching and trying to remember things. Get your spouse and children to help you to maintain the organization in your home. At your office, take the responsibility to organize your desk and work. At home, organize your books and course materials in racks or files and label them accordingly. Make a to do list for each of these categories (home and family, office work and course work) to keep you in the go whenever the time comes to put your effort on any one of them. Make sure you prioritize them based on their importance and jot down the deadline beside each, if any.
Focus on your objectives
It is of the utmost importance that you set your objectives clearly and use them as a guidance to focus on your task. Without focus, your time and energy will be wasted on moving back and forth from one task to another. When starting a task, focus on your objective. This helps you to concentrate on the task at hand. Make sure you do one thing at a time. Strictly no multitasking. Nothing is accomplished satisfactorily when multitasking. Concentrate on one thing and get it done the best you can. For example, if your objective is to get your course assignment done, concentrate on nothing else except that. Work on it the best you can until the time is up. Don’t try to write an e-mail or make a phone call regarding your office work during the time allocated for your study. If you suddenly remember something important, write it down and set a reminder in your mobile or stick a sticky note to remind you later.
Concentrate in class and make short notes
Try not to skip your lecture and tutorial classes. When you are attending one, make full use of the time efficiently and effectively. As you listen to your lecturer, make short notes for you to review later. The knowledge you gain during classes even though not fully understood, can serve as your guidance when doing your research and revision.
Always have some flash cards or short notes ready for quick revision
While waiting for someone, may it be waiting for a bus or taxi or a friend, go through your flash cards or short notes to make a quick revision. Make use of your smart phones or laptops to search for more information based on your short notes.
Get help from friends in completing your course work
Work together with some friends when working on your assignments and course work. Break up your assignments into smaller tasks and assign each of them among your friends so that each of you can concentrate researching on a smaller scope. When it comes to compiling, discuss it together, make sure everyone understands all of the parts and do your own work individually and uniquely. By this way you saves a lot of time on researching and accumulating data, and at the same time helps each other understands the subject at hand without copying each other works.
Delegate your burden to others
Wherever possible delegate some of your chores to others. Let your spouse and elder children help with the chores at home. Delegate some of your responsibilities to your subordinates. Make others do the work that don’t need your special attention or your special skills. Tedious clerical work and simple managerial and monitoring work can be delegated to trusted colleagues. As long as the work can be done satisfactorily by others, go ahead and delegate them.
Cut down unnecessary activities
Unnecessary activities such as watching television and socializing on-line or offline should be kept to its minimum. You can do those activities once in a while to release your tension or to break away from the busyness of your life. But watch yourself when you are in these activities. You may get carried away. Be careful not to waste hours of your time on watching movies or socializing through your facebook when you still have a long list of more important work to complete.
Find your best time of the day
Study needs concentration. Find at least one hour of your day as your best time, may it be very early in the morning when everybody in the house is still sleeping or late at night after everybody has gone to bed. Make that best hour or hours your special time to commit to your study. Be consistent. Make it a daily ritual.
Get enough sleep and rest, and maintain a healthy lifestyle
Above all, make sure you have enough sleep and rest. Maintain a healthy life by exercising daily at least for 15 minutes and eat healthy meals. Without a good state of mind and high level of energy none of your effort is effective. You may have enough time allocated for your study but with a tired mind and body nothing much can be absorbed into your brain.
Finally, before you commit yourself to going back to college, make sure you and your family members are well prepared for this venture. Discuss with them and make them understand how important their cooperation is. No doubt, it will be a tough time for you and your family, but if you succeed, it is not just about another scroll but a victory for you and your family as a team.