The demands of starting a new career usually include obtaining certification or a degree. Classes and training are time-consuming pursuits, and if you work full time as well, balancing the two requires time management, family support and prioritizing outside activities.
Set a schedule
Time management is essential when working full time and attending classes. If you have a set schedule at work, block those times out, using either a paper calendar or planner, or electronic schedule. If you attend traditional classes in a classroom and/or have student/teacher interactions online, these are likely to be a set schedule. Block those times out as well. Everything else must work around these two blocks of time, including family obligations.
Determine which times work out best for you to complete assignments for your classes. For example, this may be between five and six weekday mornings and between eight and 10 weekday evenings, and between six and eight on Saturday nights. Block those times out on the schedule.
Enlist family support
Before defining which blocks of time are given over to working on assignments, sit down with your spouse or significant other and ask for their input. Though you can’t change your work hours or your classroom times, your assignment times have more flexibility. Show your partner which times you feel work best, and explain that you want to ensure that during those times, you can work uninterrupted.
You’re asking your partner to carry the bulk of the obligations of family life, including caring for children, getting chores done, handling the finances and dealing with other family and community responsibilities. By working on the schedule together, you reduce the risk of conflict as both of you know what to expect during this time.
Though a full time job, classes and homework take up most of your time, you may still need to maintain some outside activities, such as important family functions and community groups that further your social and business needs.
Determine how much time, and which blocks of time, you can devote to activities outside of work and school, noting which ones conflict with designated blocks of time. Determine if you can reschedule those activities or if you need to eliminate any of them altogether, if only temporarily.
This may prove one of the more difficult aspects of balancing work and school. If you are the president of your local business persons’ association, and the meeting times conflict with class time, you must make a decision as to whether you can take the class during another semester to retain your position or give up your position within the association.
Each week, schedule time to spend with your family. Don’t overbook that time together, though. Keep the activities simple such as renting a movie and ordering pizza, or going for a hike. Also include time spent alone with your partner so the two of you can reconnect.
Your schedule is demanding and you’re under pressure to perform both at work and at school. Alleviating stress will help you maintain a positive attitude, an essential element to success.