Studying is hard enough, but working at the same time can drive you crazy. Projects, presentations, homework and tests consume a lot of time and work minimizes the time you can dedicate to your studies. What’s the solution? Improving your time management. It is definitely not easy, but it can be done.
Getting Started: Asking Yourself Questions
First you need to ask yourself these questions, are you dividing your time effectively? What should you priorities? Are there any bad habits taking up valuable time? After answering these questions, sit down and create a daily and weekly plan. You can buy an agenda/calendar, or use your computer or cellphone’s calendar application if it’s easier that way. If you use your cellphone’s calendar application, check if there is a reminder option. This way you can remind yourself about upcoming due dates. For each day write down your work and class schedule, make sure to include study time. With the extra time left add your other commitments such as family, exercising, spouse or children, etc. Do not forget to add to your schedule at least once or twice a week fun time, this time should be dedicated to relax, to hang out with friends, watch a movie or any other activity you enjoy. Always review your agenda weekly, that way you can refresh your mind and see when deadlines are coming up. This is extremely helpful because if you have fallen behind any material that is soon to be due, you can adapt your schedule.
Manage Your Time Effectively
After creating a schedule, manage your time effectively. For instance if you ride the bus, or are waiting at a doctor’s appointment, these are good times to catch up on reading class material. Another tip is to divide your reading time. For example count how many days and pages you need to read. Then divide the amount of pages equally per day. This will prevent you to read too many pages at the last minute, making you feel less overwhelmed. Not only that, but it is easier to understand what you are reading if you read it little by little. Another great technique that can be used is if you have any reading material that is in digital format such as word or pdf, then you can convert these to audio files. You can listen to these while you are driving or doing the dishes. Another tip is to carry a small study guide with you that you can read, it can be put on an index card for example. These can be read during the extra time while you commute.
After starting a course, it can be helpful to stay in contact with your classmates. If your classmates feels comfortable with giving you their number or email then you can help each other out brainstorming ideas. At the end this technique can help you save valuable time. Not only that, but it’s a great tool, if you are running late, you can let them know and they can tell your professor. Or if an emergency comes up and you have no choice, but to be absent during class, you will have a contact that can catch up with the material you missed. Try to review your material before class, this way you can clarify any doubts during or after class. This way you can focus your time on studying the rest of the lecture and not fall behind on material you do not understand.
Establish a Place of Study
Another tip is to separate a place to study, such as going to the library, a café or siting at the dinner table in your home. This will allow your brain to tune in making it easier to study. Also, sacrifice certain things during some days of the week, for example skipping a television show or minimizing video game time, to squeeze in extra study time. You will thank yourself for this at the end, just in case, something comes up, you won’t feel too stressed out cramming things in at the last minute.
A great technique to motivate yourself to study and work is to reward yourself. For example, for every certain amount of pages you read or hours of work you do, spoil yourself with some well-deserved ice-cream or a delicious cup of fruits. These small tasks can make you feel achieved. Another excellent tip is to write down your goals on a piece of paper and once you finish a goal, cross it out. That way when you feel like you haven’t achieved anything you have visible proof, that you are not wasting your time.
Studying and working is possible, but to make the journey easier use these tips. There will be moments when stress creeps up, making you feel overwhelmed. But don’t fret, talk to friends, family or teachers to help you along the way. Remember you are not alone and in the end all these sacrifices you made working and studying will be worth it.
- Kyle Pott. How To Study With a full-time Job. Retrieved from: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/how-to-study-with-a-full-time-job.html
- Study Guide and Strategies. (2015). Time Management Series. Retrieved from: http://www.studygs.net/timman.htm
- WikiHow. (2015). How To Work and Study at The Same Time. Retrieved from: http://m.wikihow.com/Work-and-Study-at-the-Same-Time