5 Time Management Tips When Juggling Work And School

If the stress of juggling school, work, and family is making life difficult, you are not alone. In 2011, 71% of the nation's 19.7 million college undergraduates also worked while getting a degree. Two in five worked at least 20 hours a week. One in five worked at for least 35 hours. A quarter have dependent children. Related: 7 Tips For Juggling Work And Grad School Not surprisingly, time-shortage is one of the biggest reasons for students dropping out before completing their degree. So how do you make sure that you stay the course? Here are top five tips for managing your time for academic – and professional – success.

1. Talk

Does your college offer courses that work with your life rather than against it? You’ll have a better chance of attaining your life goals if they do. So, talk with the admissions counselor and find out if courses are available online as well as in class, whether courses are flexible, and whether you can complete your program at your own pace. Many campuses offer help with time management, so try to find out what support is available. You could even consider setting up a peer mentoring program to give and get support from fellow students if your college doesn’t have one. You should also talk to your employer. Assess when busy periods are likely to be, and try to avoid big assignments at the same time. Show commitment and consideration, and you are more likely to get your boss’s support. If you can, look for assignments where you can exploit your professional experience – it’s a more efficient use of your time.

2. Prioritize

Busy, successful people understand what they can do each day, how they use their time, and what can realistically be accomplished. Learn from their techniques and you can do the same. Record your daily activities to find out how much time you really have. Assign a specific time to important tasks rather than hoping they will happen at some point. Get smart when prioritizing tasks so that ‘clean the attic’ does not have the same weight as ‘write term paper.’ Build in buffer time for the inevitable interruptions. And set time limits for each task to stop it spreading into the rest of your day. Once you have your schedule, beat procrastination by breaking down massive projects into manageable blocks. Work is usually the best way to get working: so start with small tasks to get the ball rolling. Finally, once you’re in the zone, note any good ideas that pop up and move on. That way your ideas for your company’s Sales Conference won’t distract you from your revision – and you won’t forget them.

3. Delegate

John C. Maxwell, author of How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life put it best: "If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!" Clear out the clutter of unnecessary tasks and make more room for more important activities. Evaluate your commitments, discuss realistic goals with friends and family and then learn to make use of other people. It can be hard to let go sometimes, but you don’t have to do it all. There are almost certainly tasks in your daily routine that can be done easily by others, even if your only available resource is a willing spouse or child.

4. Focus

Stay in the here-and-now and focus on one class at a time. If you complete one or two courses, you’ll be motivated to take another. Equally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to complete your degree within a certain timeline. Success is the biggest motivator so acknowledge a job well done but don’t allow yourself to be distracted when things don’t go according to plan. Learn from mistakes and then move on. Remember that learning is a cumulative process: you won’t be judged by one project alone and you don’t have to be perfect every time. Sometimes, good enough is just that.

5. Sleep

Extra-strong coffee is not a long-term study aid! When schedules fill up, sleep is often the first to be sacrificed. But lack of sleep actually makes your task much harder: your mental health, physical health, stress levels, and schedule are all affected. Make sure you take time to look after yourself. It doesn’t take long for the constant round of class, study, work and more study to take its toll on your ability to perform. Plan time to relax and be social – and treat it like every other commitment. It will improve your productivity overall. Time management isn't a skill you pick up right away. Ironically, it too takes time. But the good news is that more and more students are managing to earn a degree while working full-time. The even better news is that the time management techniques you learn when balancing your various commitments can be applied throughout your career to enhance your chances of future success. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

The Solution To Your Time Management Problem [Infographic] How To Balance Grad School And Work A Full-Time Job Overcoming Time Management Obstacles   Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less