Doing a diploma on top of your day job is a big undertaking. And whilst it will no doubt have a big and positive impact on your career, it is sometimes tough and overwhelming to fit in an extra 10-15 hours of studying in addition to your work week. So to help you power through and get the qualifications you need to move forward in your career, here are 5 handy time management tips to help you study.
The best way to make the most of your studying schedule is by planning ahead. At the beginning of a semester or unit, sit down and take a look at exactly what you have to complete and make a plan. Put it into a digital calendar, a hard-copy calendar or even in a list format. Whatever works for you.
Whichever method you choose, use something where you can tick things off as you go. This will help make sure that you complete all the necessary tasks, adhere to all deadlines and most importantly, not fall behind or get overwhelmed.
When making your plan or schedule, be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given time frame. Make sure you schedule plenty of time for all your assessments as well as time for reading and studying and whatever else is involved.
It’s also a great idea to schedule in some extra time every week as a back-up in case things go wrong or life simply gets in the way. That way, you won’t ever fall behind or get overwhelmed. And if nothing does go wrong, you have a bit of bonus free time to relax!
Break it down
Don’t leave everything until the last minute and then try and do it all in one go. Of course, if you’re committed to doing a diploma of business administration or an MBA, you want to give it your all but remember that you are also working full time so you may not be able to focus for hours and hours every night. So, whatever task you are working on, break it down into manageable pieces and just take everything one step at a time.
For example, if you have a 2,000-word essay to deliver by the end of the week, break it up into sections. Come up with the content structure on day one, write the introduction on day two, write your first couple of points on day three and so on. Everything should be in bite-size, manageable chunks so you can ensure that you produce quality work.
Allow yourself time to stress
We all get stressed out every now and again, especially when we’ve got a lot on our plate. But don’t let stress take over what little studying time you have. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, allow yourself 5 minutes at the beginning of the session to stress out about your huge workload, and then simply get on with it.
Sitting around stressing all night about how much you have to do instead of actually doing it is a huge waste of time. So once you’ve taken your five minutes, look at your list, pick the first or most urgent thing on it and just focus on completing that. Don’t worry about everything else, just focus on the one thing. Then, once that is complete you have one less thing on the list to stress about.
It may sound simple but allowing yourself a few brief minutes to freak out and then simply just getting on with it is an extremely effective time management technique that many people overlook.
Find out your learning style
When you’re trying to fit your studies around a full-time job and life in general, it’s important to work smarter not harder. Finding out what style of learning works for you is the best way of achieving this.
There are many different methods of learning and different people respond better to different things. Some are visual learners and prefer images and diagrams whereas others respond better to sound, music and verbal methods. Kinaesthetic learners prefer learning with physical aids. Some people learn better in groups and others learn better in solitary. Finding out what works for you will help you work more efficiently and effectively.
Aside from what type of learning you respond best to, there are many other factors that could affect your productivity. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Are you simply exhausted at the end of a day’s work and can’t think of anything worse than studying? If so, you might be more productive if you get up a couple of hours earlier and get in some study time before work. Or, you may find that you get more done during your lunch break. Do you work best in a quiet place or are you more productive in a coffee shop? Thinking about where, when and how you work best will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed.
When it comes to time management, it’s all about finding little tricks and hacks that work for you. One person’s organisational techniques may not work for the next person. Taking the time to understand how you learn and under what circumstances you are most productive is key to getting the most out of your time and effort. Know your limits, understand your strengths and learn to work within them.
Last modified: December 4, 2018