Top Five Tips to Make School Work With Your Busy Schedule
For most working professionals, life feels like it’s filled to the brim. Job demands, family commitments and church, community or volunteer responsibilities have us struggling to do it all well and keep to a schedule with smiles on our faces. Add in dealing with the challenges of navigating a global pandemic, and you probably believe your plate is full enough.
There’s no way you’ve got time in your jam-packed calendar to go back to school, right?
Or … is there?
Every one of us is given the same amount of time: 24 hours in a day; 168 hours in a week. It’s how we use our time that’s important in being successful at balancing work, family and school.
Getting a degree while working full-time and keeping up with family responsibilities while dealing with the unusual demands of living in a world that’s fighting the spread of COVID-19 is not just possible; it’s completely doable. In fact, each semester, Trevecca enrolls thousands of students who are finishing their bachelor’s degrees or earning their master’s degrees while working, taking care of their families and being active church and community members.
As you think about going back to school and how it will best fit in with your life, you need to consider how you’ll manage your time going forward.
Use the following five helpful tips as you look at the options for your future.
- Outline your goals.
What is your “why” for going back to school? Determining the reason you want to earn your degree will motivate you to manage your time well.
Consider the following:
- What will finishing my bachelor’s or getting a master’s mean for me and my family’s future?
- What is the financial payoff?
- How does this fit in with God’s call for my work and life?
- What are the benefits to getting my degree?
Keep your goals at the forefront of your plans, and you’ll have greater success at staying the course and being motivated to make the necessary sacrifices along the way.
- Prepare to say “no” and make compromises.
Speaking of sacrifices … It’s inevitable that going back to school will change your life—for a while—and you need to be prepared.
Your new school schedule will likely include as much as 10-20 hours each week devoted to class and schoolwork. Going back to that universal truth: we all have 168 hours a week, but we only have 168. You can’t add an extra hour here and there, and it’s unrealistic to think you can simply tack on becoming a student to an already full life.
Have candid talks with your employer, spouse, children, parents and friends about your decision to go back to school. This is the time to get creative to accommodate your new routine: maybe you give up lunches out with coworkers to study for exams during your break at work, or your spouse puts the children to bed a few nights each week so you can work on writing papers.
Remember, going back to school is a short-term investment for a future reward. For a focused period of time, you’ll have to prioritize the essentials and say “no” sometimes when you don’t want to.
Getting your degree—and all its benefits—is so worth it, though.
- Don’t neglect self-care.
While you’re doing all this sacrificing, don’t be tempted to neglect scheduling time for your own self-care. Taking care of your physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health is absolutely vital and should be included in that list of “prioritized essentials.”
If your faith is important to you, continue to make time for church attendance, prayer, quiet time with God and fellowship with other believers. Also, schedule recurring dates and outings with loved ones; keep the fridge stocked with nutritious snacks and make a point to get up from the computer and take a walk in nature on a regular basis.
Maintain healthy hygiene habits and best practices to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Be mindful of strengthening your own immune system so that you’re less likely to pick up a bug and pass one to others.
Neglecting self-care while working and studying 24/7 can lead to problems. You may suffer burnout or become physically ill—and then you won’t be effective at work, school or home.
- Eliminate distractions.
As if being a working professional, parent or spouse isn’t distracting enough, you live in a society that’s always “on” and always screaming for your attention. Adding school to your “noisy” life requires that you shut out those voices that don’t serve you.
Research and use effective time management tips (there is a plethora of articles, posts and books on the subject). Many students have found apps helpful, especially for limiting time on social media, time tracking and calendaring. Paper and pen still work great, too: legal pads, three-ring binders and student organizers are all helpful for keeping yourself on task.
Regardless of the tools or systems you use, the bottom line is this: You must set aside specific hours each week for class and schoolwork.
You have to protect that time, no matter what.
- Choose a degree program designed to accommodate your priorities.
Getting your degree is so much easier when you’re enrolled in a program that is created with your busy schedule in mind. You need a high-quality education that also offers flexibility and convenience. You’ll find that at Trevecca.
Trevecca’s degree-completion and graduate programs are designed for students just like you. Study at your own pace when it’s best for you. You set your own schedule, whether that’s putting in a few hours before you head to work or devote Saturdays to homework and everything in between. You decide the rhythm of your experience.
Students repeatedly say that by focusing on one class at a time, they experience high productivity, efficiency and motivation.
A leader in higher education
Since 1901, Trevecca has been a leader in higher education. Earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree either 100 percent online or on campus one night a week. You’ll receive one-on-one attention from experienced professors who understand that you have personal, family and school demands on your plate.
Whether you’re learning face-to-face or remotely, your education at Trevecca will be of the highest quality and rigor that we’ve been providing students for more than 100 years.
Don’t think you have time to go back to school right now?
Let us help change your mind about that.
Our faculty and staff are personally invested in helping our students succeed by balancing their full lives with their academic and personal goals. We’re here to help you discover a solution to your unique challenges.
We’ll be with you every step of the way—from enrollment to graduation. Fill out the form and an enrollment counselor will get in touch soon to help chart your unique path from the start.