Cut down the overwhelm of balancing school and work + Maximize each day by finding study time at work
As an adult going back to college, a great way to manage responsibilities is to find study time at work. I honestly believe you don’t need to study 8 hours a day to be successful in college. You do have to learn to fit in study time with your existing schedule, which includes work. Read on as I show you how to identify study time at work without getting in trouble with your boss.
Years ago when I was earning my terminal degree as an online student while working a full-time job I tried a lot of study strategies. Most of them didn’t work.
What worked was identifying and using small pockets of study time during my regular schedule to maximize each day. I quickly learned that working a full day and then coming home to study all evening wasn’t working.
I was tired.
I wanted to come home and crash on the couch for a while before going to bed and repeating things the next day. It felt overwhelming to balance school and work as two separate entities, so I tried thinking about how they fit together.
It cut out distractions like the couch/tv/books and helped me maximize my daytime hours to get everything done.
p.s. If you are an online student like me, don’t forget these five key skills to be successful as an online student.
Get Creative with study time at work
Most of us don’t have the option to actually study during the hours we should be working. We were hired to provide value during work hours, and we have to concentrate on actual work.
There are plenty of ways to get creative with study time at work. You could:
- arrive at work 20 minutes early
- stay 30 minutes late to study
- use your lunch break
- use your 10 or 15 min break
- go in on the weekend
- use your commute
This maximizes the momentum of getting ready for and going to work. Somehow going to the office puts us in the mentality to get busy in a way that coming home after work doesn’t. Cause coming home after work means relaxation, right? #relaxationgoals
Using our existing habit of going to work helps create new study habits that stick. It also provides daily consistency leading to better grades. If you study consistently every day, even for short amounts of time, you remember more information and equals better grades.
The key to getting creative is to plan ahead to find a quiet time to use your break wisely. If you eat lunch with your coworkers, you really can’t study. But could you shut your office door and eat while you read? No office? No problem! Step out to your car for 20 minutes to be alone and outline your research paper while chowing down a sandwich.
If you spend a couple of minutes the night before to create an intentional plan and gather your study supplies, you can get a lot done with these small study sessions. I completed at least half of my school work this way every single week.
Which meant actual time to relax in the evenings and enjoy it guilt-free. Did you know prepping can actually create free time?
Play with how you study
Want to really make this strategy work? Don’t just tweak when you plan study time at work, also play with how you study.
- Save study notes to OneNote and access them at home and at work.
- Use Quizlet to quickly review vocabulary or study question/answer notes.
- Download your textbook to a smartphone (I started reading on my iPhone last year and quadrupled how many books I read. It was quick and convenient to pull up a book on my phone and read throughout the day.)
- Plan short study activities. Stop thinking about study time in hours of work and focus on intentional goals you can be accomplished quickly.
- Download PDF books and get Adobe Reader to read them to you while you drive to work.
- Record yourself reading study notes or a textbook out loud and listen to the recording while driving to work. Double the study time this way!
These are a few ideas to study differently, but get creative! Identify one challenge keeping you from studying and put your big, beautiful brain to work solving the problem. Knowing the problem is 75% of the work. Get clear about what is standing in your way and you will easily come up with solutions to work around it.
Leave a comment and let me know how you fit in study time at work!
Try It Yourself: 20-minute Challenge (5min plan + 15min execution)
- Look at your work schedule for tomorrow.
- Identify 15 minutes you can study in your schedule.
- Plan what to accomplish with those 15 minutes. Gather up what you need to be successful.
- Execute your plan like a boss tomorrow.