Many of us at some point feel trapped in our careers. We’re keen to make a change, pursue something entirely different, or aim for a leadership role within our current field. We have experience and knowledge, and we’re certainly enthusiastic, but there’s very little that we can do without the relevant qualifications. Most of us, if we’re honest, left school too early, or failed to make the most of educational opportunities, which we often regret when it comes to seeking a new challenge later in life. We find that a lack of qualifications means that our ceiling is far lower than we’d like it to be.
However, things are changing. The growth of online study means that we can go back to school, advance our knowledge, and gain new qualifications, which will allow us to move up the career ladder, or try something new, while we work. Mixing work and online study is a great way to push your career forward, but there’s no denying that it’s hard work. Here are some tips to help you get it right, and a look at some of the reasons you might want to.
What are the Benefits of Studying Online While You Work?
Understanding the benefits of studying while you work is a great place to start. Knowing and appreciating the benefits will help you to carry on when times are tough. Some of these benefits include:
· Reduced loss of income. Financial concerns are the biggest issue for people wanting to go back to school. Most of us can’t just afford to take years off work. When you study online, you don’t have to.
· Your career continues to move forward, and there won’t be any gaps on your resume.
· Improved organization and time management skills.
· You’ll appreciate the opportunity more.
· Your job could aid your coursework.
· You’ll demonstrate fantastic self-motivation skills which will impress employers.
· It’s ideal if you have a family or other responsibilities and need to keep your routines the same.
Now, let’s look at some of the ways that you can balance work with study so that you are successful at both.
Choose the Right Degree
The first thing that you should do is take the time to choose the right degree. Online degrees aren’t all equal. You’ll want something that will provide the qualifications that you need, but also something that offers flexibility and a style of learning that suits you. It’s worth looking at part-time options and considering any work placement requirements. If you are looking for a Doctor of Nursing Program with great flexibility for current nurses, click here to learn more about a fantastic option from Marymount University.
Juggling work and study is never going to be easy. Even if you reduce your hours or study part-time, there will be days when you have a lot on. Often, the key is organization. Without it, you’ll miss appointments, be late for work, struggle to stick to deadlines, and generally feel very stressed out. Being organized means that you can thrive at both study and work, but also that you can do it without stress. Here are some of the best ways to get organized.
Write To-Do Lists.
To-do lists are one of the most effective ways to get organized when you’ve got a lot to do, and especially when you have a lot of tasks in different areas. Start making lists at work, lists for study, but also lists of things that you need to do at home and in everyday life. Some people find paper lists the most effective and ticking things off a physical list can be a great motivator, but apps like Trello can also work.
Start Meal Planning.
Meal planning is a simple thing, but it can save you a lot of time and money, when it comes to both shopping and cooking. You can even use meal prepping for your lunches to save time at work or when you are working on an assignment.
Create a Cleaning Checklist
Unfortunately, household chores don’t vanish when you are busy. Make a checklist so you always know what needs doing and try to stick to a routine. If you share your household, you should also share tasks and create a roster.
Make Cuts Where You Can
Take a look at your schedule – do you need to be doing it all? When you are busy, to avoid stress, something has to give. Try to keep exercise and hobbies that you love, but if there’s anything that doesn’t bring you joy, and isn’t helping you with work or study, cut it from your diary.
Start Saying No
Saying no to other people is a great way to free up some time and reduce stress. Don’t take on more than you need to, and don’t be scared to say no or cancel plans if you need to.
Manage Your Time.
Organization can free up time and reduce stress, but if you want to balance work and study, you must learn to manage your time well.
Figure Out a Routine That Works for Your Learning Style.
We all learn differently. Some people are great left to make notes out of a book. Others prefer to talk things through. Some people work well at night, whereas others are more engaged first thing in the morning. Find out when you are at your best, and how you like to study, and try to create a study schedule that suits your style so you can get more from your time.
After a long day at work, you might just want to lounge on the couch with the TV on, flicking through a textbook, or making a few notes online. But this won’t help you to make the most of your time. Instead, when you work, make sure you are free from distractions by working in an office, or a different room from where you relax.
Ask for Help
You’ve got organized, you are using your time efficiently, but things are still hard. When you are taking on two big things, you are going to need help.
Share the Load at Home
Making sure other members of your household are helping with chores, or things like school runs will be a huge help. But it can also be worth considering childcare, someone to help with cleaning, and even ordering meal boxes to make cooking easier.
Be Open with Your Employer
You don’t need to tell your employer that you are studying, but it can be a good idea. Hopefully, they will be supportive and understanding. A good employer will help you with time off when you have exams to study for, more flexible hours when you need them, and even work opportunities that could help with your studies.
Rely on Your Support Network
If you have a strong support network, use them. Spend time with friends, ask family for help, and vent to the people that you love when you are stressed out. If you don’t have a support network, this can be a great time to build one. Reach out to other people in your class, workmates, and even people online.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Stress can be a big problem when we are taking more on than usual. You can manage your time, find better ways to work, and ask for help, but you are still going to be doing a lot more than you are used to. Dealing with stress by prioritizing self-care will protect your mental health but also help you to perform well.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. If you don’t feel that you have time to hit the gym, go for a walk every day, or practice yoga before bed.
Have Some Fun
When we’re busy, it can be easy to forget to enjoy ourselves. But fun is important. Make time to see your friends, do things that you enjoy, and even to watch movies that make you laugh.
Take Regular Breaks
You might feel as though you need to cut breaks to get everything done, but this is usually a mistake. Taking regular breaks reduces stress and fatigue and means that you can work more productively.
Find Ways to Relax
You must listen to your body and your mind. When you are tired, stressed, or otherwise unhappy, don’t ignore the signs. Take a bubble bath, go for a walk, chat with a friend, read a book or just get an early night. Make sure you have plenty of things that you can do to help you to relax and switch off.
Book a Holiday
Having a holiday booked gives you something to look forward to, even if it’s just a night away, or a few days home with no work or study to worry about. Just make sure you plan your break for a time when there are no assignments, exams, or anything big happening at work.
There’s absolutely nothing to stop you from successfully mixing work and study. You can thrive at, and even enjoy both, as long as you get organized, get help, and take care of yourself.