Becoming successful, when working and going to school, comes easily to some people. While I find myself unable to manage my time and get important tasks done when I am only working and not involved in any other activities, I am much more efficient when I have other tasks, such as school or volunteering, to add to my day. For many people, time management is easier when you are busier. Time becomes much more precious. I have always found that being constantly busy leads to more productivity because I am in the mode of getting things done. Although being constantly busy breeds productivity in my life, it may not be as useful for other part-time student workers. For those of you who need some tips to break into this fast paced lifestyle, here is what I offer:
1. Find out what kind of learner you are and use this to your advantage. If you work better with reading lecture materials than face to face discussions, consider taking an online course. This can also save you time. You wouldn’t have to commute to get to classes and you could read over lectures on your lunch breaks.
2. When studying, bring your materials with you to work so that you don’t have to stop at home and get comfortable before you go somewhere to read or do homework. Which leads me to my next tip…
3. Don’t study at home. Unless you have a lot of self-control over distractions or there is a reason you must study at home. Find a good study spot and keep going to that once place when you need to do classwork. Unlike being at home, you will associate this one location with doing homework and being productive (think classical conditioning!).
4. Finally, remember to take breaks and have fun. Don’t get stuck in the idea that just because you are working and going to school, you can’t go out and have a good time. Celebrate a finished project at work with a night out to dinner with friends. Applaud yourself for taking a test by getting drinks with your significant other. Taking time for yourself will help you stay focused on your goals and fight the urge to give up on this hectic time in your life.