Balancing Work & College

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Homegirl has to have a job. I'm not in any position to be able to be unemployed during the semester, both financially and mentally. I don't do well when I'm not busy. I don't know how to explain it, but the less time I have to get things done, the more productive I become. If I know that I have a whole day to do something, I'm going to take the whole day to do that one thing. If I know I have four hours to do my homework and catch up on reading or writing or my blog, I'm going to kick my booty into gear, get my homework done and then spend the rest of my time doing things that I actually enjoy (sorry, didn't mean to call you out, schoolwork). The question is...how do you successfully and equally balance work and school? Well kids, don't do what I do. Just kidding. Despite a little blunder last semester, I personally think that I balance the two quite well. How? Wow, so full of questions today!

1. GET AN AGENDA

Agendas are no joke. I mention them in every single college advice post that I write and I will continue to do so until the end of time. Life with agendas and planners is infinitely better than life without one. Seriously. Head on over to Target or splurge on an Erin Condren planner. Doesn't matter what you use as long as it has monthly calendars and weekly spreads for your assignment. Keep track of the days (and hours) you work on your monthly spread. In a different color, put your class times. The key is to make sure that there is enough time in there for breaks. If you're going to work three days a week and have classes three days a week, make sure that you have a day off or at least a chunk of time off one of those days, whether it's during the afternoon or at night. Sometimes this can't be helped, especially if you're going to school full time and are close to working full time to make ends meet and pay for school. Those situations can get tough and that's when you need to practice incredible motivation and self-control to keep yourself focused. Use your agenda to not only keep track of your work and school schedule, but also to keep a detail count of your assignments. Write them down as tasks for the day, but also include their due dates so you know how much time you're working with.

2. Dedicate a specific time to school work

Yep, that's right. Create a period of time on your free day(s) dedicated specifically to school work. Carve out two hours (or three or four, however much time you need) and make that schoolwork time and nothing else. Knowing that a certain portion of your "free time" away from class and work is dedicated to schoolwork makes it part of your routine, your schedule. If you know that you have a four hour window of time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get work done, take two of those hours each day to only do schoolwork. If you finish early, great, then you have more free time! Eventually, it'll become part of your routine and you'll know that schoolwork always happens from noon to two every Tuesday and Thursday!

3. Don't bring your work home

Easier said than done for some jobs. This might be easy if you work strictly retail, but if you don't and work in an office environment or hold some sort of other position at work, try your hardest to keep your work at work. This might be impossible from time to time so if it's an emergency, don't be too hard on yourself. But if you can, try to avoid working on work during your free time at home, especially if that free time is coming out of your allotted schoolwork time.

4. Give yourself weekly check-ins

Dedicate even twenty minutes or so at the end or beginning of each week to see where you are in the semester. Check to see which due dates have passed (and make sure you turned something in for those!) or which ones are coming up soon. See what you have to look forward to in the readings or discussion posts for the week. Just try to give yourself a little understanding of what your week is going to be like in regards to school instead of going into a week of classes blindly. Plan accordingly if you know that you're going to have a lot of work to do that week. Give yourself more time to work on school, by extending your "schoolwork time" by an hour or taking time out of one of your evenings after work to get a little extra done.

5. Give yourself breaks

It's easy (at least, for me) to get into that work, work, work and busy, busy, busy mentality, but sometimes you just have to give yourself a night off. I try to get all of my work done before the weekend so I have nothing to worry about until I start to plan out my week again on Sunday evenings. We all deserve a free day or night from time to time. Make it a priority if you can. Sometimes, we are just so loaded with work from school and our jobs that maybe this isn't possible, but if you can make it happen, treat yourself to some free time. You deserve it!

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