Successful studying: How to juggle studying and working full-time

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Successful studying: How to juggle studying and working full-time


It sounds impossible, right? How does one study and work, while still maintaining a home and a social life? It is a challenge, make no mistake, and if not carefully managed, can lead to stress, fatigue and anxiety. It is totally doable, though. You just need a plan. Here are seven tips from Counselling Psychologist and Life Coach, Kerry Acheson which will help you find the balance.

Be realistic

“Set goals that are broken down into manageable chunks and time frames.” Acheson advises. Know your limitations and adhere to them. Only able to study for half an hour each evening? Then plan your course material accordingly. It might take you longer to reach your end-goal, but you’ll feel less panicked and more accomplished if you stick to a manageable plan. 

Be self-aware

According to Acheson, you should check in regularly with how you are doing. “Be kind and fair to yourself, and aware of your needs.“ Don’t neglect yourself. If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you won’t be any good either at work or while you’re studying.

Don’t isolate

You’ll need a support structure during this time more than ever. “Reach out for support, recharge with your people, and don’t neglect your relationships.” This doesn’t mean going out partying every night, but a good chat over coffee with a friend is food for the soul.

Get the basics of self-care right

“Eat well, exercise regularly, and don’t skimp on adequate sleep.” Make sure you are keeping body and mind healthy. Poor nutrition and lack of sleep can lead to a host of problems, not least of which is getting sick. And a run or gym class will recharge and energise body and mind.

Boundary your time

Don’t forget to switch off sometimes too. Acheson says to “mark off time to have fun, relax, be creative or rest.” She advises taking a full rest day if you can.

Plan well

You know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Planning is key. It’s the best way to maintain the balance. “Keep a to-do list, prioritise what needs to be done each day, and give yourself the satisfaction of ticking off each step.”

Keep the end goal in mind

You decided to take on this crazy task of studying while you are working for a reason. Perhaps it was to help financially, or because you wanted to further your career.  Acheson says, “Visualise how your life will be enhanced after you’ve completed your qualification.”

Some practical tips to assist with the work/study balance:

  1. Utilise your commute. Listen to audio books/study material in the car on the way to work.
  2. Learn to multi-task. As above, listen to podcasts/study material while you are preparing dinner.
  3. Choose your sacrifices. Don’t waste time watching hours of TV or scrolling through social media. Rather use that time to study. But only sacrifice the things that affect you, not others.
  4. Keep your Manager in the loop. If you need to take a study day or need time off to take a test, they’ll be far more supportive and understanding if they’re in the know.
  5. Use technology. There are myriad apps that can help with managing your time. Create Whatsapp groups with your fellow student to discuss relevant course work.
  6. Consider doing online courses. Milpark Education offers a range of online courses or degrees via Distance Learning Online which provide complete flexibility while still enjoying dedicated access to a course lecturer and other students.

20 Feb 2019