How To Juggle Full-Time Work And Online Study

Posted January 8, 2020, by Elesha

Can you juggle full-time work and online study….without dropping any of the balls? It’s tricky but definitely not impossible. With some ninja-like productivity skills and a few other tips we’re about to share, you’ll be able to pull off working full-time while completing your online course like a pro. 

Set Up A Designated Study Space At Home

One of the benefits of studying online is you can do it anywhere! That said, it’s a smart idea to create a dedicated study space at home for those times you really need to focus and get into the zone. 

It’s important that this space is only used for studying, not playing video games or doing general admin stuff. Setting up a space just for studying is a physical representation of your commitment to reaching your professional development goals; even it means juggling work and online study. 

Keep the space clutter-free and make a habit of switching off your phone as soon as you sit down to kill distractions.

Improve Your Reading Speed

It’s great to read some things at a slow, leisurely pace….. a stack of study reading materials is not one of them.

You really want to get through your study materials quickly to maximise your time and improving your reading speed will give you a huge advantage.

There are plenty of resources to help you read faster including, Accelerator an iOS 8 app that allows you to import articles, documents and other texts and links into a speed-reading practice app.

ReadMe! is also a good choice if you have a kindle or other e Reader –  it’s specifically designed to help you speed read through ebooks. 

Improving your reading speed for study will benefit you at work too. Bonus!

Tell Your Boss 

To successfully manage a life of full-time work and online study, you have to keep your boss in the loop.

Most bosses will be supportive if you give them plenty of notice when you need to take leave for study or exams and, if necessary, work outside normal hours to make up for time off.

Advancing your skills through an online course put you in a good professional light, showing you’ve got the discipline to put your nose to the ground to advance your career. 

While you’re having the chat, why not ask your employer to pay for all or part of your course

Book In A Leave Day For Exam Revision 

No matter how prepared you are, you’ll likely start to feel rising levels of stress the day, or the week, before an exam.

If you can, plan to take the day prior to the exam off for a final revision session and to clear your head. You’ll know the exam schedule in advance, so there’s plenty of time to put in a request for time off – don’t leave it until the last minute. 

If you can’t take a full day, ask your boss if you can leave a couple of hours early and make up the time. 

Be Prepared To Make Sacrifices (But Be Smart About Them)

There’s no way around it. To successfully juggle full-time work and online study, some sacrifices will need to be made so you can prioritise taking action on what matters. Especially at times when a work deadline or exam is looming.  

That said, dropping the ball on everything else in your life for work and study, is a short cut to burnout

What not to sacrifice

Regular meal breaks – this won’t do the quality of your work or study any favours. When it does come to meal time, be sure to avoid high sugary foods packed with empty calories, this will do nothing for your concernation levels. Instead, turn to these smart snacks that’ll giver your brainpower a boost. 

Physical exercise – even if it’s just a quick walk around the block, it’s important to fit in some type of physical activity each day.

All ‘me’ time – you might be busy but don’t cross every bit of ‘me’ time off the calendar. 

What you could sacrifice

Some requests from colleagues  – you don’t need to say yes to everything.

‘Just because’ social outings – you don’t want to turn down every social activity but during particularly busy times with full-time work and online study, it’s ok to say no.

Netflix and social media – when you’re up against it with work and study commitments watching Netflix and scrolling the socials should be the first thing to go!

It’s about finding balance…the week before an exam, coffee with friends might be off the cards. Make up for it the next week by cutting a study session short, or dropping it altogether, to hang out. 

Turn Your Commute Into A Classroom

The average daily commute for Aussies working in city areas is around 66 minutes which adds up to more than 5 hours each week. Make the most of those precious hours by turning your commute into study time. 

If you commute by public transport, put your study notes on flashcards to review or read study materials.

If travelling by car, download audio versions of your textbooks to listen as you drive or record a Q+A session with yourself on your phone for repetitious learning.

Basically, you ask the question (What colour is a banana?) then pause for 5 seconds and record the answer (yellow). You can play these Q+A sessions over and over while driving. 

Fall In Love With Time Blocking To Balance Your Work / Study Schedule

Time blocking your days is a total game-changer when it comes to managing full-time work and online study… life in general! 

Time blocking is a time management technique popularised by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work.

Time blocking is simply booking in time on your daily schedule in advance to focus on specific tasks.

It helps you build your day around your priorities, rather than just focusing on work or study tasks randomly or when you ‘have time’. Trust us, when it comes to full-time work and online study, ‘having time’ doesn’t happen…unless you book it in. 

This technique also gives you peace of mind, knowing you’ve got all the important stuff covered.

Check out doist’s complete guide to time blocking for some productivity inspo!

Get Clear On Important Dates For Work And Study

A week with work deadlines and assignment due dates can turn into the perfect storm of disaster if not managed properly.

Having a clear schedule of your full-time work and online study commitments for the month will help you plan accordingly. 

One of the big myths about online study is that you can submit assessments any ‘ol time you feel like it.

Not true. An online course still follows a schedule with due dates for assessments and often weekly deadlines. To successfully complete your course and receive your accreditation, you need to submit work according to the deadlines.

When navigating full-time work and online study, treat deadlines dates for both with equal importance. 

Want more study tips? Check out these 13 mistakes that could be sabotaging your study sessions!


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