Working full-time, studying part-time, juggling priorities and finding the balance is a challenge, but once you master it you’ll be surprised by how much you can fit into your life!
To manage my schedule of full-time work and part-time study and still have time for a personal life, there are several time management tools I use on a daily basis. These simple tools help me find time to spend with my husband, family, friends and my fur-baby Kirby, as well as time to do things that I enjoy such as scuba diving, mountain bike riding, playing soccer, watching Netflix and going to the movies.
My fur-baby Kirby with my husband, Josh.
The best approach I find is having a calendar that is available on my phone, laptop and in ‘the cloud’.
Each semester I plan out as much as I can. I make sure key dates such as assessment due dates, events and appointments are all mapped out. I even plan when I think I might be super busy with study, for example, during the weeks leading up to exams, by blocking out these weekends. I also schedule in weekend catch ups with friends because when you’re super busy it is easy to forget about something you might have arranged weeks ago.
If you want to learn how to conquer your calendar, here are some extra tips.
As someone who works full-time and studies, I need to be alert and ready for whatever comes my way. With the recommended sleep time being 7–9 hours for adults, I can say I’m one of those people who needs their full sleep time to function (National Sleep Foundation, 2017).
To help ensure I get enough sleep, I use my fitness tracker to track my sleeping pattern and I try to stick to a set routine. Tracking your sleep helps manage your time as you can work out when you can fit in night or early morning study sessions.
Factoring exercise into my busy schedule is not only important to me, but research shows that 30–40 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise can help you think more clearly, as the increased blood flow allows you to focus and concentrate (Dahl, 2016). The increase in your concentration levels allows you to increase your productivity and manage your time more efficiently.
If you’re struggling to fit any exercise into your busy schedule, just try and aim for 20 minutes per day — you’ll be surprised how a quick walk to the park can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to do some study.
Me time is essential. Not only does it allow for you to have a break from study and work, it enables you to do something you enjoy. My ‘me time’ usually involves sports, so it’s a win-win for me, as I get a workout while doing something I love! Scheduling some ‘me time’ helps me stay on task with my study. Taking a break from study helps me process what I’ve learnt and helps me get ready to tackle the next task.
At times, you just need to have a break and do something that takes your mind off study and work. I find watching TV helps, however, if you’re like me and feel you need to be doing something while sitting on the couch, instead of picking up my phone to scroll through Instagram, I do some crocheting.
Crocheting not only soothes your mind but acts as a great stress reliever; the relaxed and repetitive motions of crocheting can help calm down the body and the brain (Redheart, 2017). Having a hobby not only gives you something to look forward to, but helps with your time management as well because taking the time to soothe your mind leaves you feeling refreshed and able to be more productive during your study sessions.
The relaxed and repetitive motions of crocheting can help calm down the body and the brain.
For me, time management is a two way street: first, you need to be pro-active by planning and second, you need to be true to yourself and follow through with your time management schedule.
Getting enough sleep, exercising, having ‘me time’ and finding a hobby are activities that can help you stick to your time management schedule. Finding the right balance between personal time and time to work and study is an individual journey and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.
Using these five tools on a daily basis has helped me juggle a busy schedule of full-time work and part-time study. So, if you’re struggling to find time for everything, give them a go!
If you’ve got your work and study balance sorted but are struggling to be productive, check out these 10 apps to boost your productivity.