By the time you are going back to school to pursue your postgraduate degree or qualification, you probably have a fulltime job and a family. It goes without saying that you will be juggling a lot of balls and the trick is to ensure that none falls. This can be an overwhelming experience if you are not well-organized. Some people choose to leave their jobs and concentrate on their studies but this may not work out for everyone. If you are lucky, your job might offer you a study leave but this is not that common so if you want to improve your skills through a postgraduate qualification, you need to find a way to manage your time and responsibilities better. Here are a few tips that will reduce the burden on your shoulders and ensure that you emerge successful.
Watch the Clock Closely
Time management is your friend here. With so many things to handle, you need to keep track of your time and maximize each opportunity. You will need to work with schedules so it is good to have a personal calendar showing you exactly what you need to be doing and when. There are numerous apps to help you manage your time better and give you constant reminders on upcoming events.
Working with a schedule helps you allocate enough time to all your needs and still get enough time to rest. As much as you have a school calendar and work schedule, a personal one consolidates all your activities into one, helping you manage your time better. Additionally, you need to create time for rest and relaxation since you will be balancing many things and this can result in a burnout.
Have Clear Goals
What is it you want to achieve at the end of it all? How will it help you? How soon would you like to finish your course? All these will help you have a sharper focus on your future and plan ahead. Clear goals make it easy for you to stay on course even when things get tough. Before embarking on your studies, research about the course you want to study so that you are clear on what to expect ahead. This will also help you have realistic expectations about what you can achieve once you are done with your studies.
Set the Right Priorities
With so many things on your hands, it is in your best interest to have the right priorities in place. This will help you do away with those things which take up your time and may not be important. You want to focus on productivity so be clear on what matters and what does not.
Consider Taking up Flexible Classes
Most postgraduate courses have an option for evening studies. This is designed to accommodate the needs of working learners. If there is an option for evening and weekend classes, it is in your best interest to take advantage of these, especially if you have a tight schedule at work.
Consider Taking up Work Flexibility Opportunities
Some offices offer flexibility to those employees who are studying. If you have this option, take advantage of it but ensure that your productivity is not affected. Offers such as flexitime, deferred pay, trading your leave days for time off for school, or lowered hours could help you find the time you need to perform well at work and still catch up with your studies.
Beware of Rising Stress levels
The mere fact that you are handling too many things at the same time exposes you to high levels of stress. You need to find some fun activities to be involved in, sleep enough, and simply take some time off so that you do not burn out. Know what triggers your stress levels and watch out for it. There is no need to put too much pressure on yourself as this will do you more harm than good.
Balancing work and school is definitely not easy. Even the best performers and the sharpest learners find it hard to manage both. However, it is not entirely impossible. If you stay focused, plan well, take advantage of opportunities at work and at school, and watch your stress levels closely, you will sail through successfully. So go ahead and enrol for that postgraduate qualification that you have been pushing back for too long now.