If you’ve decided to return to school as an adult, congratulations! But now your time management skills will be put to the test as you balance work, family and school. Read on for practical tips on making it all work.
Talk to family and friends.
You’ll need their support when life gets busy. It might be as simple as providing support and encouragement when you are not available to socialize, or you may need a real sacrifice of time and money for childcare or other needs.
Set a schedule.
Set aside time every day to work on school. You may have to create a “do not disturb” sign and explain to your family what kinds of interruptions are acceptable. It might be even better if you can get away to study. Visit the campus library after class, or head to a coffee shop or public library for an hour after work.
Make a routine for everyone.
A successful routine is usually one that works for everyone in your family. Be careful to plan enough time for dropping children off at afterschool activities, fighting traffic to get to classes after school and studying on the weekends. If you can, involve everyone in your quiet study or online school time. Ask everyone to pick up a book or work on homework.
Watch work interruptions.
You may need to let your boss know you are in school if there will be schedule conflicts. Keep your schoolwork and your job completely separate. Don’t study when you should be working.
Bonus: Some employers will pay for part or all of your tuition if you are continuing your education in the same field. Don’t be afraid to tell your employer that you are back in school.
Stay in the moment.
With so many demands on your time, you need to stay focused on what you’re doing at the moment. If you’re in class, don’t fret about an upcoming work deadline. If you’re enjoying time outside with the kids, don’t spoil it by thinking about an upcoming test.
Ask for help.
Your college has resources to help you succeed in each of your classes, such as tutoring or writing labs. Ask your advisor or professors for assistance. You can also seek suggestions and strategies from classmates to bring balance to your busy life.
Be a role model.
Returning to school sends a powerful message to your children and family members. Show them that you value your education and want them to invest in their education, too. Commit to completing your degree for your sake and their future.