Online classes are usually preferred by individuals who are employed but would like to continue their studies between work hours. Although online courses are usually self-paced and can be scheduled around the students’ busy work and personal life, balancing the two can still prove difficult when you factor in extracurricular and family activities. The tips listed here will help you balance your new commitments at school AND manage your work efficiently.
1- Communicate with Your Employer
In any work environment, communication is essential. In order to be certain that you can excel in both your studies and career, be sure to speak with your boss regarding your decision to further your education. He/she will appreciate your honesty, and you’ll likely find you gain support and encouragement for your decision.
Also, most workplaces are pretty flexible with employees who have educational commitments. Your openness will smooth the transition into your new schedule, and some employers may even offer financial aid to support your professional growth.
2- Take Advantage of Downtime
How much time gets wasted while you’re sitting in a doctor’s office, getting ready for a friend to pick you up, or waiting to be served in a restaurant? Train yourself to work and study from your mobile devices to increase productivity and get things done faster. Some employers may even allow you to bring your school work to the office so you can study during your scheduled breaks.
However, you will need a time management plan to succeed in handling all of your commitments as efficiently as possible. The schedule should be realistic so you don’t burn out, but at the same time it needs to be rigorous enough so that your work doesn’t pile up.
3- Use Your Knowledge Strategically
Being in school doesn’t mean that you have to wait until you are finished with your studies in order to apply the skills you’re learning. If your current job relates to your field of study, you can practice what you learn in the workplace, or, alternatively, use the skills you get from work to tackle your school assignments. With this tactic you may find that you start growing in your career before you even receive your degree. Additionally, many skills you learn in class, such as written and verbal communication, math and logic, or interpersonal skills, have a general relevance and can be applied to your everyday life.
4- Make a Schedule and Stick to It
You need a plan that allows for adequate time management for coursework. When you enroll in a class, make sure that you read the syllabus thoroughly and understand the course deadlines so you may plan accordingly. This will give you an idea of the times you’ll be required to prioritize school and perhaps ask for time off from work to complete crucial assignments. Know what is expected of you both at school and at work, and adhere to those time frames so that you don’t get overwhelmed.
5- Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
There’s already a lot to handle on a daily basis when balancing your job with coursework. But you have a higher chance of burning out quickly if you don’t take the time out for self-care and relaxation. Everyone needs some time to decompress, no matter how busy they might be, so as you’re making your calendar be sure to also factor in time for yourself, your hobbies, and your loved ones – your brain will thank you for it.
6- Reach Out to Your Support System
Embracing a support system is always beneficial when you feel that you’re in over your head. Reach out to loved ones and don’t be afraid to accept offers of help. You may need assistance with various everyday responsibilities so that you can focus all of your energy on work and school. Or perhaps others can assist you with studying for exams or putting together projects. Keep your family and friends in the loop and set clear expectations by sharing your schedule with them so they know when your workload will become heavier.
Most schools also offer support services such as tutoring, career support, peer mentorship, and general academic advice to their online students. If you haven’t already enrolled in a school, do some research on the support services offered to online students to ensure that you’ll have the resources you need to be successful at that institution.
Although attending college while working a full-time job has its unique challenges, the flexibility of online classes makes it easier for you to manage your schedule. With a proper support system, excellent time management, and good use of your skills, finishing your schooling doesn’t have to remain a dream. Take that leap and earn your degree.