Trying to maintain a work-study balance can be a bit like cooking without a recipe. Add too much of one ingredient and it just works out all wrong. Whether you work full time and study at night or study full time and work part time, getting the exact balance right can be tricky.
The question has to be asked, is it really possible to have it all? Can one person juggle a job, a study load and still have some leftover time for life?
Of course you can! The answer lies in mixing a few ingredients to help you create a work study balance with success.
The first tip to creating a work-study balance with success is to prioritise. Stop and look at what is more important. Can you work less and still pay your bills? Are you striving for high distinctions or a pass? Consider what you can and can’t give up.
The truth is harsh, but creating work-study-life balance sometimes means something will have to give. Life cannot be the same as before you decided to take on this challenge. The key is to know where you stand, and to prepare for it.
Think about everything you need to do every day – eating meals, commuting, sleeping, must watch TV, regular family dinners, sporting commitments, grocery shopping. Look closely at how you can best schedule these activities. Can you fit in the gym before work? Is it easier to wake up 30 minutes earlier each day? Do you have the tools to study on the train to work?
Once you break down your daily needs it's time to create a schedule of your average week. This schedule is one of the keys to creating work-study balance. Some people like to colour code, you may want to use a bullet journal. Look at sleep, time to get ready for outings/transport times, work, TV shows, sporting activities, hobbies, study, classes, assessment work, homework time, time off, and time for the family. There are some great resources on Pinterest to help you organise your week. This part is often about figuring out what works for you, and you can actually have some fun doing it!
Each time you receive an assessment from a teacher or on Connect, spend time breaking it down to questions and stages. Simplify the assessment into as many steps as possible and then assign these steps to weeks, ensuring you allow a buffer of one week for final editing and review. There are some great free resources for creating great timelines available from readwritethink.
Creating a work-study-life balance is really all about keeping stress to a minimum. One of the biggest stress factors when studying is feeling like you're behind or running out of time or leaving things until the last minute. Completing your assigned homework will help you keep on track. Do your recommended readings, finish class activities, read chapters before a lecture. All these will help you grasp a better understanding of the subject.
Set time within your schedule for weekly rewards. These rewards should be on top of down time. You might like to go out for a nice meal, get some takeaway and settle in for a Netflix marathon, or simply catch up with friends.
Only allow yourself this ‘reward’ if you have completed the week’s tasks. If you haven’t, then use the ‘reward’ time you set aside to catch up.
TAFE Queensland have a range of support services available to students from learning support, assignment writing, research skills all the way through to student support which includes counselling and mental health services. We’re all here to help you make the most of your studies whether you’re balancing work or family life with study and we’re only a call or email away. You can have a work study balance.