How to combine work, your personal life and studies
April 30, 2019 | 3 min read
Studying while working full time: impossible, right? Wrong. Too many people avoid continuing education because they’re convinced it’s “impossible”. Nothing could be further from the truth. But how exactly do you go about it? Read on for seven of our top tips.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to study while still working full time? Your field is changing rapidly and you want to stay up to date. By keeping up with the latest developments, you can increase your odds of staying competitive throughout your career. But your schedule is already packed, so how on earth are you supposed to squeeze in a study program?
Plenty of people consider studying but decide it’s not right for them. But there are also many, many people who do successfully combine a demanding job with a study program. Combining work and studies while maintaining a healthy work-life balance calls for careful preparation. The following tips can help you get off to the right start.
#1 Consider your goals
Before you begin, you need to be clear about your ambitions. What do you hope to achieve by taking part in a study program? Do you aspire a management role? If so, are you sure that management is a good fit for you? What do you want your career to look like five years from now?
By answering these kinds of questions, you’ll gain more insight into which program best suits your needs. Having a clear picture of what you want to achieve will help you maintain your focus and motivation. Share your goals with those around you and make time for self-reflection.
#2 Choose your study program carefully
There are a variety of study programs to choose from. For example, we offer part-time programs that combine class days with online teaching materials, as well as flexible, self-paced programs.
When choosing a study program, it’s important to consider not only the content, but also practical matters such as the level of flexibility.
#3 Share your plans with your employer
Employers value employees who strive to further their knowledge and skills by studying. Your employer will view your drive and ambition in a positive light. After all, your organization stands to gain from it! Research has shown that most employers prefer employees who have MBA degrees to those who do not.
So make sure to share your ambitions with your manager. Many organizations are willing to facilitate your plans, such as by being flexible about your working hours. Try taking a collaborative approach: formulate your goals together with your manager and keep him or her informed of your progress. A supportive employer can be a great asset, providing valuable help and encouragement over the course of your studies.
#4 Discuss your plans with your friends and family
It’s important to make sure that your studies do not cause your personal life to suffer. Once again, it’s vital to discuss everyone’s expectations in advance, to make clear agreements, and to stick to those agreements. Let your friends and family know that you’re starting a study program and that your schedule is going to be different than they’re used to.
Talk to your family about your goals and discuss how to tackle them together. Make sure to schedule uninterrupted time with your partner, your family and your friends, and always keep these appointments. After all, your personal life is what helps you to recharge so that you have the energy to work on your studies.
#5 Draw up a realistic schedule
A clear, realistic schedule will help you keep stress at bay. You’ll be able to stay on track and measure your progress. Good planning is the key to ensuring you have enough free time, which in turn helps you to relax and makes it easier for you stick to your schedule. Just remember to keep reevaluating your schedule as you go along so that it remains accurate and realistic.
#6 Cultivate discipline
Contrary to popular belief, discipline is not a fixed character trait, but a skill that you can develop. Researchers at the University of Cologne investigated whether discipline makes people happier and more successful. They concluded that it does, as it makes it easier for people to manage and spend their time effectively.
One proven way of building discipline is to eliminate distractions, such as by turning off the radio or TV while studying. It’s also important to eat and drink enough while studying and to take regular breaks. These simple actions can be a big help when it comes to achieving your goals.
#7 Draw up a health and wellness plan
When work and study obligations start to pile up, it’s all too easy to let exercise and leisure activities fall by the wayside. But this can quickly lead to more stress and make it harder for you to unwind. For this reason, it’s important to have a health and wellness plan in place so that you can keep your energy levels up. Make time in your schedule for activities that you enjoy. Safeguarding your free time requires discipline, too!
Wondering how to advance your career while maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Get in touch with one of our Program Advisers and find out how to take your career into your own hands.
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