Career Development: Managing working and studying at the same time

Many people become comfortable in a job. Once you get used to the regular financial situation and a familiar routine, it can become easy to live for the here and now and not focus to far into the future. 

However, at some stage you may start to think about career development, and taking the next steps to progress. One of the best ways to advance your career is to complete industry specific certifications or even to go back to school to get a degree.

For many, the idea of going back to school (or completing a certification) whilst working full time is daunting. Add the stress of children, a spouse and all the other activities you’ve got going on, and studying seems like the furthest thing from an actual possibility.

Balancing work and study

Change scares many people into simply “putting up” with their current situation. We see it a lot in people who are unhappy in a current job role, but fear the faff of changing. BUT, with the people who take the plunge, the long term improvements bring happiness and the “I wish I’d done it sooner”.

So stop and think for a minute and try to set out a plan. What exactly do you want to do? How much time can you spare? Can your work support you and is their someone you can chat to about support?

Improving your knowledge or expertise is always worth investing in; after all, you are investing in yourself!

Here are a few little tips to help you on your journey to get that degree or certification you’ve always wanted and give your career a kick start.

  • Maximise your commute – the majority of working people have some sort of commute to work each day. Whether it is 20 minutes or an hour, this is time you can use to study; and we are not talking about reading whilst driving! Most textbooks come with an audio CD and there is a wealth of information available on audio downloads or podcasts you can listen to whilst driving. If you’re on the train and hands free, use the time to read up on your tablet or smart phone; as most study material is available in digital format these days.
  • Multi-task wisely – continuing from the point above, there are many tasks that you complete each day that are appropriate for multi-tasking and getting some studying in: cooking dinner, working out, going to the bathroom, etc.. You may be surprised by how many tasks throughout the day are perfect for multi-tasking.
  • Do a little, often; don’t cram – If your studying requires coursework, it is easy to put that on the back-burner if the date is weeks away. But, that date will soon be upon you if you fail to chip away at the work; and pulling all-nighters when you’re working 9-5 the following day is not ideal! Not to mention throwing something together at 4am will likely not be your best work. Sacrifice an hour of TV every night and dedicate it to your study. You don’t have to give up family time or lock yourself away; just prioritise and be honest with yourself. Can’t or won’t?!

Remember, some days will be easier than others. Nothing worth doing or having is ever easy. But don’t let the difficult days be representative of the good days.

Good luck!

Career Development, Graduates, Studying, Top Tips