Often the most common problem students face while studying, is struggling to juggle full time study with a casual or part-time job, while trying to maintain a social life and other personal commitments. It’s a challenge to find a healthy balance between study, work and life, so here are 10 of our best tips to help you better manage your commitments.
1. Organise your study timetable.
Planning out your study timetable/schedule is one of the essential things you can do for yourself at the beginning of a new term in highschool or semester in university. The earlier you know important dates of assignments, tests, social events and other commitments, the better off you are to organise your time well in advance. Using a planner or calendar helps you keep a weekly and monthly track of your schedule. Start by writing down all important dates so you’re aware of deadlines and when everything is due.
Once all this is written down, you can start working around what your schedule. Consider how much time you want to delegate to each task, and which ones you should complete first. Having your own Study Timetable is a great help in managing your time as you practice yourself in dedicating certain hours of the day to study. You can head over to our Timetable Template post here.
2. Manage your time.
Balancing a casual or part-time job with your full time studies should in fact motivate you to be more productive with your time. But of course, we’re human, and we need rest after long periods of vigorous mental work from schooling, and physical work from our jobs. It’s normal to want to procrastinate a little after you get home from school or work because you’re tired and you want to rest and relax.
But ironically, we tend to be more productive knowing we have less time to complete a task, whilst we can so easily give into procrastination when we fall into the mindset that we have all the time to study. Start by allocating specific times to each of your weekly study, work, chores, and personal commitments within your schedule/timetable, and avoid procrastinating as it will eat up more of your time. Remember the more organised you are with your commitments, the less stress you will be. If you need some motivation, head over to our Top 10 Productivity Apps & Tools For Students post here.
3. Set yourself study goals.
Setting goals at the beginning of the school term or uni semester is a great motivator for yourself. Whether it be to procrastinate less, restrict yourself from time-consuming websites, improve your grades, or to complete an assignment before a certain date, it will help to drive you to do your best. If you wish to seek academic advice, you can chat to your teacher, lecturer or academic advisor on your campus, who can help you with setting academic goals.
It’s important not to let your job compromise your commitment to your studies. The amount of hours you want to work each week solely depends on whether you feel you can handle it and how much free time you have left after studies each week. Once you are aware of important deadlines throughout the month, you can put in your unavailability with your employer.
However, you may find that your schedule may change each week, depending on how many assignments or tests you have due for school; this must be the foundation on which you build your other social and work commitments around. It’s important to prioritise your studies before anything else, because it’s your responsibility to yourself. Knowing when you should prioritise your studies will help you not overwhelm yourself with work commitments.
5. Learn to say no.
If your boss asks you to work, or your friends invite you to a social outing the night before you have a major test or an essay due – don’t be afraid to say no! It’s important to discipline yourself in learning to refuse things that may disrupt your study schedule and compromise your grades. Remember that something rushed and crammed last-minute won’t be as good as something you’ve taken your time in. If your employer knows you’re studying full time, they will of course accommodate to your school schedule, so it’s important to let them know when you can and can’t work. Also letting your family and friends know when you’re busy with studies will give them a heads up to give you the space you need to focus and not distract you with last-minute plans.
6. Reach out to friends.
Having study sessions with your group of friends reaps great benefits as it helps you balance your social life, while attending to your study commitments. Not only does it reduce stress levels, but it helps build on your interpersonal relationships that provoke more positive feelings. Consider studying together when you’re all free; perhaps after school or on a weekend when you’re not working.
7. Remember to take breaks.
If you’ve hit a mind block or you’re feeling restless, allow yourself to take a break and a moment to compose yourself again. Remember that you’re only human and there’s only so much you can accomplish within each hour of the day, so taking a break will help you refocus on your study goals and prevent you from burning yourself out.
8. Don’t pull all-nighters.
Part of finding a healthy balance with study, work and life commitments is ensuring you have enough energy to push through each day. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is essential in giving you strength to combat study, work and life. Constantly pulling all nighters when you try to cram study to compensate for time lost in your busy schedule, won’t benefit you or your health. Try to avoid late-night studying as it increases stress and anxiety levels, and compromises your ability to do your best as you are frantically working towards a deadline.
9. Don’t forget self-care.
Save time for yourself! Work overload from both studies and your job can seriously drain you, so it’s important to not neglect your self-care regime. Self-care means different things to everyone, and it can range from having a bubble bath, watching an episode of your favourite TV show, or taking your dog for a short walk outside.
Allowing ourselves to actively engage in self-care, alleviates stress levels and help us rejuvenate ourselves so we are emotionally equipped to handle work and other tasks. Working yourself without taking time off for yourself will take a negative toll on your mental and physical health. This includes pencilling in some social time with friends or family when you have free time not studying or working. Check out our self-care post here, with a list of 20 ideas you can do to de-stress after study or work.
10. Speak up.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and pressured from time to time when things start to pile on and you feel like time isn’t on your side. Talk to a family member, friend, or health care professional like an in-house counsellor at your school and seek advice on what you should do. Remember you’re not alone in this, and there are people out there who understand what you’re going through. The second you find yourself struggling with the workload or discover any problems with your schedule/timetable – talk to someone! The people closest to you always want you to succeed and be happy, so reach out when things get tough because it will do great help for you in the long haul.
It’s not an easy task to balance study and work commitments, so kudos to you for taking on the challenge head on! As long as you keep these 10 tips in mind, you can find yourself well equipped to deal with all your future commitments. Stay motivated, work hard and remember to always strive to do your best! Good luck!