How Working Students Can Manage Time Effectively
by Roman Mashchak
For students who need to work when they're at college, juggling work, study and other commitments can be a challenge. Tuition, housing, food and other bills are expensive, so many students need to work; but how do you hold down a job without your grades slipping?
It can be difficult to juggle studying and working.
Yet for many students, this is a necessity. Working anywhere up to 30 or more hours a week, while taking classes isn’t unusual. But since work is only there to support studying it can be easy to lose sight of that when caught up in juggling both.
Students who take on too many hours work can find they struggle to achieve the grades they need. Or it can take them longer to graduate, overloading themselves with even more debt.
Good time management is essential. Here are a few tips for busy working students who are struggling to balance work and studying.
How to balance work and studies?
#1: Resist the urge to procrastinate
Everyone needs to procrastinate once in a while.
It clears our minds, gets us ready to focus on something else. In fact, as a studying method, working for an hour then having a 5 or 10 minute break can prove effective.
However, those short breaks add up. Or worse, 5 minutes scrolling Instagram or playing a game can turn into 30 minutes and then you are falling behind. Being disciplined and focused is a key part of keeping stress to a minimum and getting as much done as you can during productive studying hours.
#2: Keep on top of assignments
Procrastinating or leaving everything until last minute causes stress.
Sure, taking a break might sound fun in the here and now.
But what happens when that assignment is due and you've not done any research and you've got a shift at your job that you can’t miss?
You get stressed. Those few hours chilling out can cost you a lot more stress and worry later on. So stay focused. Get work done when you've got the time, because you can’t time travel back to work on something when you had the time available.
#3: Keep yourself accountable
Something that career and life coaches often tell busy professionals, business owners and C-suite executives is to have accountability mechanisms.
Students would benefit from ways to keep themselves accountable. Tell your friends when you are planning on doing an assignment. Tell a tutor. Put it on social media or Snapchat. Whichever way you do this, it can be useful to make yourself accountable to your own aims.
#4: Have a plan
Set goals and objectives.
Know what you want to achieve every semester.
And then, when assignments are handed out, plan when you are going to work on them around work and other commitments. Whenever possible, have a plan for each semester, then every month and week.
#5: Have a route map to graduation
Long-term, you need to have a clear route map to get you to graduation.
The aim for every student is to graduate on time with the grades they need, without accumulating more debt than necessary. This is not an impossible dream, but according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 60% of students actually achieve this.
Whether you are already a student or looking at starting in the fall, put a study plan in place. Use an app such as Prepler to create a real-time study plan, powered by AI to map out a clear route to graduation. Take the right amount of credits every year to get the grades you need and get the major and minors that you want. Create a personalized degree pathway that makes it easier to stay focused and on track, and then use this to plan workloads around work and other commitments that will ensure you don't get overwhelmed or struggle to work and study.
It is possible, to juggle work and study. Discipline, focus and having a plan make doing both easier.