Nowadays it is becoming more and more common to work while pursuing tertiary education, either for the work experience, money or both. Managing school or work to get the most out of your studies and job can be a struggle unless you plan for it. Below are five ways to efficiently manage school and work life:
1. Have clear objectives
Although having a job while studying is a great achievement, you need to be realistic about your goals for both. Saying you are going to top the class or be the best performer on your team may be hard to achieve. While you are trying your hardest at each, someone is out there trying their hardest at only on one of them. Make sure you set clear objectives from the start, discuss with peers or a professor to see if they are achievable and viable goals.
2. Prioritize and schedule
Everyone has twenty-four hours in a day to achieve their goals. It is up to you to utilize this time to the fullest. Prioritizing tasks, rather than time management, will ensure you get the most important tasks done first rather than just ticking off meaningless jobs while leaving the most important for the end. Scheduling (classes, extracurricular, shifts and days off) will help balance school and work tasks, while also providing you with necessary downtime. Using a simple weekly online calendar can help you organize all the tasks you have to achieve.
3. Keep concerned seniors informed
Balancing two time- and energy-consuming activities can get hectic. There will be times when you cannot commit fully to both. You need to make sure that you inform your concerned seniors, whether that is the manager at work or the head of department at school. If you have a shift coming up next weekend but there is a submission that you need to work on for Monday that you haven’t started, make sure you let your manager know as soon as possible about the absence.
4. Take time off
As tempting as it is to spend all your waking hours involved in either school or work, you need to also give yourself enough time to blow off some steam. If not, you will end up burning out, having health problems and underperforming in both responsibilities. Scheduling some downtime with friends or pursuing a hobby will help recharge the batteries, and is necessary to keep you fresh for new ideas.
5. Have a contingency plan
There will, inevitably, be a period of time when you are drowning in school work. You’ll have a bunch of projects, exams and meetings piled up. Plan for it now and think about what you will do if you find yourself struggling to keep up. Will your employer let you change your schedule or work from home? Will your professor let you extend the deadline because he is aware of your situation? Will your peers share notes from a missed class? Discuss options with your employer, professor and peers early.
Juggling work and school can become overwhelming at times. You have to make sacrifices about how you are going to spend your time. Make sure you are ready for these sacrifices and have a good support system that is going to keep you going.
If you feel up to the challenge of combining work and school, here are some jobs that might be of interest to you.