How to manage full-time work while pursuing extra studies

Dipping your toes back into the learning pool after years of full-time work can be daunting, but it’s a sure-fire way elevate your career to the next level

Wherever you are in your career, there’s always room for progression, and today, many of us are choosing to study extra-curricular courses on the side of our full-time careers. In fact, as many as one in four of us are studying a college course while holding a full-time role, according to a report from Georgetown University.

Although adding another accolade to your collection may be the key to furthering your career, it can be difficult to balance learning when you’re in a full-time role, often leading to burnout. So, whether you’re pursuing further studies or you just enjoy progressive online courses, here’s how to juggle your lifestyle around working and studying. 

Follow a routine

Setting clear boundaries for when you work, study and relax is crucial. Not only has research shown that having a clear and maintainable routine helps play an important role in mental health, but it’s also more likely to help you keep a healthy work-life balance. Another study found that having a regular work process allows individuals to spend less cognitive energy on recurring tasks, which in turn can increase productivity. However routines aren’t just limited to when we can and cannot work – look beyond this to optimise your time, by assessing eating, exercise and morning and evening routines.

Stay connected with your loved ones

Did you know that you can inherit second-hand happiness from friends or family? A Harvard Medical School study of 5,000 people over 20 years found that one person's happiness can spread through a social group, even up to three degrees of separation. So even though you may be much busier than usual, remember the importance of staying connected with friends and family, as you may also receive a much-needed mood boost. You may also want to reach out to other members on your course to connect and initiate friendships with them.

Take regular time off

An experiment asked one team of consultants who regularly worked every evening to take at least one evening off a week. Over the next three months, each participant reported a better work-life balance and said that they were more productive during working hours. Ensuring you give yourself downtime isn’t just important for your professional performance, but it will keep you happier, healthier and less likely to burn out

Have a dedicated workspace 

If you’re investing more of your time on self-growth, you’ll need time to completely detach from studying and working. Whether you work from home or in the office, you’ll need time to remove yourself from the professional environment, so ensure that you have a dedicated workspace which you can enter and leave when needed. It’s also important to create a comfortable space which supports your physical needs. For example, the University of Cincinnati found out that over 75% of people working from home hunch over their laptops.  According to the study, this can add 10 pounds of additional pressure for every inch of forward or downward dip – of course, that’s going to hurt over time!

Keep your employer up to date

Some of us are lucky enough to be granted permission to study during work hours, but if you’re planning to study in your free time, make sure you keep your employer in the loop. Informing them of your plans will not only show that you’re keen on advancing your career, but it will come in handy if you need to book days off to sit exams or to complete certain assignments. 


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