Being in a work-study program is far from easy. If you want to balance your time for work, school, and your personal life, here are some of the best time management strategies that you can use.
Managing your time between work and school is far from easy, but never impossible. Whether you are taking a diploma course while working a full-time job or supporting yourself while finishing your degree, here’s how you can manage your time without losing yourself in the process:
Make a schedule
The best way to manage your time between work, school, and everything else in between is to create a structure for yourself, particularly with a schedule. Instead of making a mental calendar of what you need to do and when you need to do it, write down your schedule on a planner or a calendar. Doing this makes it harder to forget about tasks, especially those that are not in your routine. Moreover, writing down your schedule lets you see how much time you have between work and classes, making it easier for you to plan other things such as errands, studying, and personal interests.
If you are a habitual procrastinator, working and studying at the same time is going to be a lot more stressful for you. Hence, this habit should be kicked to the curb if you want to perform well both at your job and school without getting too overwhelmed. You can stop procrastinating when you follow these strategies:
- Break down insurmountable tasks into smaller chunks
- Start tasks as soon as you receive them instead of letting them sit around
- Maintain a to-do list
- Finish the hardest tasks first before moving on to easier tasks
- Reduce distractions
- Set deadlines for yourself
- Remind yourself of the consequences of procrastination
Learn to say ‘no.’
You only have limited free time as a working student–don’t make it harder for yourself by committing to things that you simply don’t have the time or energy for. Learn how to say ‘no’ to friends inviting you out to party or bosses asking you to pick up extra work. It’s impossible to please everyone, and there is no reason to try, especially when you have a lot of responsibilities on your plate.
Take care of yourself.
Your health should come first before anything else. Do not compromise your physical and mental well-being for the sake of your work or your job, no matter how important they may be. If you take good care of yourself, the better your performance will be as a working student, so make sure to:
- Eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water.
- Exercise regularly and do it for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Take power naps throughout the day whenever you need it.
- Avoid smoking and excessive drinking.
Find scholarships or grants.
To ease the financial burden from your shoulders, try to find scholarships or grants that you can use to pay your tuition fees or supplement your living expenses. In this way, you can take fewer shifts at work and divert more time and effort into your studies.
Distractions can eat up a lot of your time and leave you even more stressed about the work that you have to do. Moreover, they can affect your performance at work and school, which is the last thing you want as a working student.
You can minimize distractions as much as possible when you do the following:
- Setting goals for yourself every day.
- Turning off screens whenever you need to focus on something.
- Keeping your desk clean and organized.
- Eliminating non-essential tasks from your schedule.
- Blocking out auditory distractions using music or noise-canceling headphones.
- Finding a quiet place to study like a library or a small cafe.
Ask for help.
There will come a time that you might not be able to handle everything by yourself. When this situation arises, don’t be afraid to ask for help, be it your job responsibilities, homework, classes, financial troubles, or your personal life. Keeping the hardships to yourself will only do more harm than good, and you don’t want to get burnt out when you have a lot of responsibilities to take care of.
Better time management makes it easier for working students to handle both roles without getting overwhelmed. Moreover, proper time management is one of the best ways to excel both at your job and your classes, which can help pave a brighter future ahead of you.