You may find the thought of balancing a full time job, family and 'you' time quite unrealistic while taking an online course; however, studying an online course successfully alongside other commitments can be much easier than you may initially think.
It's important to ensure that you live a happy and balanced life, especially while you're working hard and studying, so, we've come up with a few key tips on how to keep yourself afloat.
1. Plan, plan, plan
One of the most crucial tips for juggling life, work and study is to plan your weekly schedule realistically. The key word here is: realistically. Don't set yourself goals that you know you can't achieve, as you'll only be spreading yourself too thin and feeling guilty that you haven’t completed
your tasks in time. Instead, include your full-time job, online course, family time and any time you want to keep free into your schedule and stick by it.
2. Schedule at least one day off a week
In your schedule for balancing your work and social life, it's important to have a break. Give yourself at least one day off a week to spend time with your family, do odd jobs and to restore your energy ready for the coming week.
3. Make the most of flexible learning
As we provide distance learning programmes, our courses can work around your schedule at a pace that suits you. Flexible learning supports and embraces the way you like to work, as you can study anytime and anywhere. You may choose to study in your lunch break at a cafe, on the train home from a meeting or after the kids have gone to bed - our courses allow you to study at time a which suits you.
4. Keep people informed
Keeping as many people as possible (such as your employer, family and friends) informed about your schedule is essential to ensure that they are understanding and supportive. If they are aware of when you are going to be most busy, they will know the best times to plan some time with you.
5. Don't worry
Worrying can have a significant effect on your health, family and studying potential, so managing your anxieties and emotions can help to combat your impulse to worry. Sticking to a clear schedule and having spare time outside of your studies with your friends or family can help you to practice a healthy mindset.
6. Create your own study space at home
It’s important to be able to separate studying and your home life from each other; therefore, having a space dedicated to your study can create a healthy balance. This doesn’t just have to be a desk in the corner of your spare room (unless that’s perfect for you!), instead, it can be at a desk facing a window with motivating items, a comfy chair and space for your workbooks. A quiet, tidy area with no distractions is a good idea too.
7. Keep to deadlines
We’ve already expressed the importance of not only creating a schedule for your study, work and home life but also keeping to it as much as possible. Your schedule should be defined by the deadlines you have, which is how you know what to prioritize.
The key to meeting those significant deadlines is to start on them early. That way, you don’t run out of time and it instead, demonstrates your true potential as you will use all of the time you’ve been allocated. Check out some time management theories which could help inspire you to reach those deadlines, such as the Pareto Principle which works on the 80/20 rule or Maslow’s theory, whichever ones are best suited to your lifestyle and way of thinking.
8. Build a network
Networking can be an extremely powerful tool in creating a group of people around you who can not only help you in furthering your career and studies, but whom you can help in return. Especially when doing distance learning and working full-time, it can be difficult to find the opportunities to network, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Start small by searching for free networking events in your area, find out if there are any networking events that people at work have attended or even create your own online networking group on LinkedIn for like-minded people.
When meeting new people on a more professional basis, find a mutual connection, be genuine and offer support. These actions are a great way to get to know people and can open doors for you as an employee or student.
Learning is a lifelong effort and keeping up with the changes in how the world works and develops is crucial for a long and flourishing career. New skills could put you in good stead for a promotion within your company and advance your career significantly. At MOL, we specialise in providing brilliant courses for people who are already in work, but who also wanted to upskill and further their knowledge in a specialist topic.
For more information on how we can provide you with a course that complements your employment and home life, call one of our programme advisors, or have a look at some of the courses we have available here.