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5 Ways to Successfully Balance School and Work

I remember how hectic life was while attending college and working a part-time job. It was even more stressful in my adult life, as I juggled attending night classes in university while managing my full-time profession to improve my professional skills. There were a few times of my life that I had to sacrifice a social life, sleep and healthy eating habits.

I’m not alone with having to juggle work and school. In fact, the number of mature students returning to school is on the rise. According to NBC, the percentage of adults aged 25 and older attending college or university is “expected to rise to 43 percent by 2020 as 9.6 million older students head to campus.”

However, just because you have decided to go back to school doesn’t mean you should suffer while attempting to juggle life’s responsibilities. Here are our helpful best practices and tips to help you succeed:

1. Envision a lifestyle of success

I am a strong believer that your thoughts shape your reality. Think about how you want your continuing studies courses or your next four years in university to be in detail. Envision spending time with your family, studying during your breaks at work, getting good grades, enjoying a night out with your spouse and planning get-togethers with close friends.

There are a ton of ways to manage your time properly, like prioritizing your tasks, setting time limits and blocking time wasters. Here are some time-management tips for you to consider to help your vision become a reality.

2. Get creative with your spare time

There are 24 hours in a day. However, it may feel limited when eight hours is spent at work. If you feel pressed for time to keep in touch with your loved ones, there are creative ways for you to stay connected during office hours.

Make a point to call your mom or sister on your break to catch up, schedule a lunch date with a friend or family member that work in the same area, sign up you and your best friend for early morning fitness classes to squeeze in some quality time AND self care before work – whatever makes you feel more connected to the life side of work-life balance and makes you happy. If you use WhatsApp, create a group chat for family or friends to keep communication lines open and stay in the loop with everyone’s lives.

Another way to use your spare time wisely is by planning outings with a group of family and friends. This will allow you to see more people you love in one go and it will be fun for all!

You can also opt to use your mornings and your lunch breaks to catch up on reading for school or doing some studying. Just don’t use every waking moment you’re not working for more work or else you are sure to get burnt out.

3. Get help with homework

If homework is eating up all of your spare time, perhaps you can enlist some help from a professional online service. There are many services online that help students record, analyze and reflect on homework material during a lecture. Students are able to take notes by dividing information from a lecture into note-taking sections to read at a later time. One of the benefits of online homework help is the student can change the lecture notes real time as the professor is teaching.

These online services make it easy for you to complete school assignments and have some extra time for yourself!

4. Schedule your tasks wisely

In the first week of your courses, print a hard copy and save a soft copy of your syllabus, so you know what assignments will be expected of you throughout the semester and when quizzes and exams are scheduled. The last thing you want is to be feeling overwhelmed when you forget about an important deadline and don’t have enough time to get it done.

Putting a list of important dates (i.e. exams, assignments) on your refrigerator and a visible place at your desk at work will ensure you schedule your time wisely. If you prefer an online method, share a Google Calendar of your syllabus by email for people to find it easily on their smartphones and encourage your friends and family to make plans around this time.

5. Schedule in self care

According to the Center Mental Health Association, “1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem.” A common reason it happens is most people are under high stress and anxiety because of the responsibility of work, school and raising a family. Take care of your mental health by practicing regular self care. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Ask your spouse for a massage or go to a masseuse on a semi-regular basis (if you have work benefits, they will likely include RMT massages)
  • Take time for yourself to read, take a bath, do a face mask – whatever helps you feel relaxed
  • Exercise at least three times a week to relieve stress
  • Practice open communication with your partner or spouse
  • Read an encouraging personal statement in the morning and at night before you go to sleep to stay inspired

Final thoughts

You are a brave person for dedicating your life to going back to school. Whether you are single or have a family, there are challenges that will come with this decision. It can be an exciting and fun time in your life if you plan your time wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask for help by using online resources.

Thinking of hiring a career coach to help you get a job after college or choose the right degree to pursue? Browse our directory of career coaches and get a FREE consultation or request a personalized coach recommendation!

About the Author Makeda Waterman

Makeda Waterman is a professional writer with an Education in Journalism, Mass Communications, and Public Relations. She writes for Huffington Post Canada and Glassdoor on career advice with the goal of helping people improve the quality of their lives.

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