Are you interested in studying but concerned about how to fit it in with working or looking after children? Would you love to gain some qualifications but just not sure how you can make it all work? It might seem like an unachievable, but it is possible to successfully incorporate study into your busy lifestyle. Here’s how!
Dedicated place of study
Study should be seen as work. When we go to work, we typically have a dedicated place to go, such as an office. When we walk into our workplace, it’s a signal to our brains that we are about to work and that we need to get into ‘work mode’. By having a dedicated study area, this sends the same signals to your brain and will improve concentration and productivity. It’s critical that you minimise distractions in your chosen area of study and that this area is quiet. If you share your home with other people, make sure everyone knows not to interrupt you while you’re ‘working’.
Dedicated time of study
For the most part, successful study comes down to how much time you dedicate to it. If you’re busy, time is of the essence, so make sure you assign yourself dedicated study times. Select times of the day or week when you are least likely to be interrupted and when you’re most alert. This will maximise your study and learning outcomes.
A really great way to fit study into a busy lifestyle is by using a daily and weekly schedule. Outline all the things you need to achieve each day and week and allocate time for each task and work to this schedule. Also factor in priorities for each day and week to ensure you stay focussed, efficient and therefore productive.
Choose the right mode of study
Having the time and money to study full-time on campus is a luxury that most of us simply can’t afford. As such, education providers have had to adapt and respond to the changing face of society and how we are now want and need to study. As such, education providers and courses have become more flexible and responsive to the needs of students. In addition to offering courses online, some colleges and unis (for example: Evocca College) provide tailored study solutions such as your own private tutor. This recognises that we all have different styles of learning and aims to make the time you allocate to study far more effective and ultimately, successful. This is critical if you’re time-poor and trying to fit study in and around your busy lifestyle.
Most jobs and workplaces provide a structured day that is designed to promote and enhance productivity. When you study you need to emulate this by structuring your sessions. With each session, you should:
- Know exactly how long you have to study and stick to this time limit. Set a timer on your computer, phone or alarm clock if need be.
- Set an overall study goal as well as mini goals. For example, your overall goal for one session might be to read five pieces of research for an assignment you’re preparing. Within that session, you would have five mini goals, that is, reading and summarising each source of information.
- Use incentives to stay focussed. For example, you might make yourself a cup of tea or coffee halfway through your study session or after you’ve read three of your five documents.
- Factor in time to eat and short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes so that you stay fresh and maximise concentration and information retention.
- Put your phone on silent. These are distractions and must be minimised.
Studying while working and raising a family has become far more common these days than in the past. While it might seem daunting and almost impossible, there are many ways to squeeze study into your busy lifestyle and to make it all work.