Finding Focus When Balancing Online School and a Full-Time Job

by Online Education Specialist · 1 comment

The competitiveness of today’s job market has led to higher education requirements for most professional jobs. Given the sheer number of applicants, many employers find themselves needing an objective way to slice the stack and it is this higher education component that is oftenchosen. Consequently, candidates are being driven to attain more education, and faced with the already feeble economy, more are returning to college while working full-time jobs. For many, attending an online school that provides greater flexibility and convenience has proven the solution to pursing education and maintaining a work schedule.
maintaining jon beside online study
A problem faced by many individuals going back to school is finding focus when balancing their full-time job while attending an online school. While online schools’ flexibility enables students do schoolwork around their work schedule, there is a lack of structure and routine. It takes an extraordinary amount of discipline, self-regulation, and diligence to succeed at an online school. While it will require a lot of effort to effectively balance work and school, it can be done by adhering to a few simple tips.

  1. Develop a schedule. One of the first steps in creating balance between work and school is
    to develop a schedule. Because an online school gives the learner greater independence and requires a greater need for self-discipline, it is essential to have a schedule that ensures that both school and work are allotted an adequate amount of time. When developing a schedule, writing out an hourly schedule for each day is most useful. While it is impossible to anticipate every event that will happen from day to day, it helps to have a concrete plan to manage time. Reflecting on the time needed to complete assignments while developing the schedule ensures that the time allotted will be adequate. Writing down first work and then school sets prioritization of time. The remainder of time can be used to complete other tasks.
  2. Use time effectively and efficiently. While attending an online school and working full-
    time seems to fill in a full day, there will be breaks in the day that can be used for study. Despite having a schedule, there may be times when extra time is needed for study. Using time effectively can help in creating extra study time. For instance: 

    • Notes can be put on note cards and studied while waiting in line at the supermarket
    • A lecture can be listened to on the drive to work
    • A lunch break may be a useful time to finish research.
  3. It is a matter of figuring out the best use of time so that work can be completed efficiently.

  4. Learn how to reduce stress. A major problem when balancing work and school is avoiding
    being overwhelmed by stress. It is easy to feel like a tug of rope being pulled in both directions and having trouble finding peace in the midst of stress brought on by school, work, and the two combined. So while it is important to schedule in work and study time, it is also important to participate in activities that reduce stress. This may mean going to the gym and getting away from both work and school for awhile each day. Some find stress relief in prayer and meditation. It is also possible to relax by just going to a movie or going out with friends. While school means sacrificing some extracurricular activities, each day should have at least a few moments of relaxation and stress reduction.
  5. Evaluate what is important. With all of the distractions in life, it is recommended to take
    time for self-reflection and discovery of values. By reflecting on one’s values, it helps enhance focus and resignation to pursue goals and dreams. If school is in fact highly valued, then it will become a higher priority. Evaluating the worth of a college education also serves as reminder during the difficult times that the pursuit of education is of great significance and worth the effort and sacrifice. By looking at what is important, it also helps to evaluate and alleviate sources of distraction and other tasks that are time consuming. For instance, if attending a church group for an hour once a week is of great significance, then perhaps this is something that should stay on the schedule. On the other hand, if a committee meets once a week for an hour that is just nice to be involved in but not a priority, then it can be removed from the schedule (at least until graduation).
  6. Discuss school with supervisors. Trying to go to school without the support of supervisors
    at work can make balancing work and school even more difficult. Talk with supervisors about demands of school and let them know when major assignments are due. Supervisors are often able to assist in helping create the balance. Supervisors are definitely more likely to be understanding if there are work/school conflicts if they are made aware ahead of time that there are school issues to be confronted.
  7. Celebrate accomplishments. Often it is easy to remember the importance of working hard
    and staying focused on what is left to be accomplished. Yet, it is equally important to take time to celebrate the accomplishments. When a child gets a good report card, it is posted on the refrigerator. As an adult, it is no less important for accomplishments to be acknowledged. So celebrate by going to dinner, having a treat, or taking a weekend off for major achievements.

Going back college is an adventure that requires a lot of work but ends in one of the greatest accomplishments in life. It will require effort to balance work and school. Making the extra effort to follow these tips will not only lead to balance between school and work but also help in getting closer to the ultimate goal – graduation day!

This is a guest post written by Brendan Cruickshank. Brendan Cruickshank has worked in the online job search industry for the last eight years. Because of his insightful perspective, he is often quoted by major publications on issues related to jobs and employment. Currently, he works for Juju.com.

Related posts:

  1. Is Online College the Right Choice for You?
  2. Tips for Continuing Your Education As a Part Time Student
  3. Flexible Schedules | A BIG reason to choose Online Education
  4. What Opportunities A Student Expect From An Online School?
  5. Be Cautious Before Getting Admitted on Graduate School For Online Education

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

belly June 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Yea its not so easy to balance the education and job too.

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