Balancing my work/study life
The combination of full-time work, study and a social/family life is a balancing act anyone would find challenging. While studying may not come naturally to you, with a little planning and self-discipline, you can find a way to do your best.
The following are tips to help you balance work and study.
On this page:
- Know what's expected
- Helpful study hints
- Studying at home
- Create a realistic and flexible schedule
- Schedule a weekly social activity
- Keep track of your progress through qualifications
- Learn how to manage stress
- Ask for help
Know what's expected
Discuss with your supervisor and or employer what’s involved in your job, the regular duties you need to schedule and what training you will be undertaking. They will be able to tell you what your job entails and when the busiest times are at your workplace, which will help you organise your study schedule. You are entitled to paid time off to study. Incorporating your study into your workday can help take the pressure off completing your qualification. A good philosophy to live by during your apprenticeship/traineeship is “it’s much easier to keep up than to catch up".
You should also talk to your trainer about how much coursework you’ll have and when your deadlines will be so you can plan ahead. Your Training Plan provides details of the expected delivery dates for each of the Units of Competency that you need to complete for your qualification. You can use it to schedule and keep on track with your coursework.
Helpful study hints
- Clearly mark all your study and work deadlines on your calendar.
- Work out your top priorities and how long you have. Divide up your tasks so you can avoid a last minute rush.
- Start your assignments early in case unplanned events come up.
- Discuss your assignments with your employer and or supervisor, they may be able to provide you with some assistance in helping with any questions or concerns you may have.
Not everyone understands the demands of study and work. Let your supervisor, friends and family know about your training schedule. Ask for help when you need it, remember two heads are better than one.
Remember due to experience everyone looks at issues from a different point of view, which means they may have advice which will help with any problems you may have.
Studying at home
To help study some people create a dedicated study space at home, this may help you to remain focused and work uninterrupted. If you find it difficult to study at home, you could go to a library or use a quiet place at work. You may also try setting aside certain time slots for home study so you’re used to a routine.
Create a realistic and flexible schedule
Parts of your schedule may be fixed, such as if you need to attend classes and undertake specific work hours. You’ll then need to add homework and study time.
Build a routine you can stick to, but can also remember you can this schedule if you have to adapt to new assignments, unexpected errands and/or sudden work pressures. Plan for enough study time so if something comes up, you can shift your study to another time slot.
With so much on your plate, you won’t have time to do everything. Choose your priorities and accept that you may have to miss a few social outings or exercise sessions to stay on top of work.
Learn how to manage stress
While stress is usually referred to as a negative experience, not all stress is bad. Some stress can be helpful, it can motivate us to finish a task, or it can even help us to perform well. But if stress is continual over a long period, the effects can impact negatively on both our physical and mental health.
Schedule a weekly social activity
- At the beginning of each week.
- Schedule an outing with your friends on the weekend. It will give you something to look forward to.
- Avoid nights out during the week.
Keep track of your progress through your qualifications
- Keep copies of your assignments and assessments so you have a record of the work you've done towards your qualification.
- Keep a record of the competencies you've completed. Your training provider should provide you with regular updates of what you've achieved and what you will have to do to get your qualifications.
- Sometimes qualifications are updated nationally. If this happens with your qualification, your training provider should explain what the differences are between the old and new qualifications and if you relearning plan needs to be updated.
Ask for help
If your training is too hard, talk to your trainers. If work's getting to you, talk to a colleague, your supervisor or your employer. The first step to making the situation better is talking to someone about it. How can we help? Contact us