UJ blog - Balancing work and study

Balancing work and study

Both working full-time and studying full-time are feats in their own right, but there are a brave few out there who choose to tackle both at the same time. If you are studying while working, it is a good idea to take a step back to see if you are balancing your work and study life appropriately.

Never fear, there is no need to overcomplicate anything. Take it back to the basics and once you get this right, your work-study balance will follow.

Communication

It is important to chat to your manager or boss at work to let them know that you are studying while you are working for them. That way they might be more lenient with you when it comes to taking time off for study leave. The company that you work for may have extra leave days for those still studying, and might even be open to paying for some of your course or degree if you pass. The company that you work for should see it as a good thing that you’re willing to learn and further your career.

It is also important to chat to your lecturer about the fact that you are working full-time. If there are any deadlines that need to be postponed due to work commitments, they may be more inclined to grant you extra time.

Organisation

This one seems pretty obvious and might be the most basic of them all, but not all of us are planners and this doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Keep in mind that you’re going to be pretty busy with studying and working, and if your job is particularly intense or time-consuming, you might only be able to study and undertake projects after your work day has ended.

The key here is to plan your tasks according to what you need to accomplish every day, each week, and per month or module. Create a schedule that encompasses your work and study deadlines, and don’t forget to include sufficient breaks and free time. It is also good to have some buffer time for projects or work commitments that take more time than expected. And remember to stick to this as closely as possible – life happens, but if you find yourself falling behind, get back on track as soon as possible and make sure you seek assistance from the relevant support systems when necessary.

If you are organised and you stick to the plan you have created for yourself, you will be far less stressed and you can focus on what you need to get done in an orderly manner.

Time management

Managing your time goes hand-in-hand with being organized, and again it seems pretty obvious but is often overlooked. Managing your work leaves time for studying or completing projects. Plan time slots for studying after work or, if you have one, in your lunch hour. If you do this three times a week, you can have your evenings open to enjoy some actual life activities.

If you are an early bird, wake up a little earlier in the week and get your studying done before the workday starts. This all depends on what you do for a living, of course, but if you manage your schedule and leave enough time for studying, the work-study balance shouldn’t become a problem for you.

Make time for yourself

Being organised and effectively managing your time means you can schedule time to relax, go to gym or be with your friends and family. This is important so that you don not suffer burnout and come to hate the work-study life, or feel too overwhelmed to continue and complete your studies. If you feel like your break wasn’t long enough, revise your study plan. Being organised gives you the luxury of being able to tweak these things.

With the right communication, effective organisation, correct time management and putting time aside for yourself, your work-study balance should be spot on and you’ll reach all those goals in no time. Good luck!

Let us know if you are nailing the work-study-life vibe, and how you’re finding it, in the comment section below!