Tips For Studying While You Are Working Full-Time
For many working adults returning to education, it’s the first time they’ve been graded outside a performance review since university or high school. And it’s a strange adjustment to get back into studying mode. When you’ve got work reports and projects to worry about it, it can be hard to prioritise your studies.
Here are eight tips for studying while you are working full-time.
Know your motivation
In order to maintain a new busy schedule that includes studying on top of your other commitments, you need to know what your motivation is and let this fuel your resolve to continue your studies even when it’s hard.
Your motivation could be to upskill in your industry, completely change your career path or formalise the skills you’ve already gained in your field. Whatever your motivation for completing additional study, keeping this in mind will help you get through the extra busy periods where work and study are all converging, making you feel like you’ve got 26 hours of work to complete in a 24 hour day.
Choose the right course
Once you have decided you want to go back to study and you know the basic field you want to study in, it’s time to choose the right course for you. Consider what level of study is going to get you closer to your goals. A Certificate IV, a Diploma or even an Advanced Diploma might be right for you depending on your plans and your previous work experience and qualifications.
RPL everything you can
On that note, you should also look into what you can complete through Recognised Prior Learning to expedite the process. Recognised Prior Learning or RPL is a process for gaining your qualification where a training organisation will look to your previous work experience to see if you’ve completed equivalent tasks to the competencies of the unit.
Even if you’re studying in a field where you haven’t actually worked, there may still be some crossover with your previous experience. For example, you may be completing a course in marketing and communication, and you currently work in administration, but you could still possibly complete some of the units through RPL. Units such as writing complex documents or creating presentations could be done through RPL if you’ve got examples of these tasks completed as part of your previous working history. You can learn more about the RPL path to gaining nationally recognised qualifications here.
Create a study schedule
While working full-time as an adult your schedule is already quite full. Most adults who are working full-time have other commitments, kid’s activities, social groups or family commitments to worry about. That’s why it’s essential to create a study schedule and stick to it. If you approach your studies thinking you can just ‘fit it in’ when you have time, you’ll find yourself falling behind on your course work.
Instead, set one day per week, where you focus on completing your studies, track how much work you can get done and how many hours it takes. This will help you figure out how long you need to schedule for each study session in order to meet the requirements for your course and how quickly you can get it all finished.
Plot out your study benchmarks
It’s one thing to have a studying schedule set out, with a plan for when and how many hours per week you’ll be studying but it’s another to have your studying benchmarks sorted.
Look through the course’s assessments and assignments and plot out your plan for each one. Planning when you’ll get the research done, when you’ll have your draft finished and scheduling time to complete extra prep ahead of the assessment period will ensure that you’re not left pulling all-nighters to fit everything in.
When you’re working full-time and studying it can be difficult to fit in time to rest and relax. But planning and scheduling self-care time will save you from burning out and help you to keep on track. You can’t be ‘on’ 24/7. You need to take time to unwind and relax. Scheduling self-care time will help you return to your studies and your work refreshed and ready to go.
Track your progress and keep your end goals in mind
As you’re working through your course, track your progress and celebrate the little wins. As you complete assignments or assessments and you work through units, mark your progress and review how close you’re getting to finishing. This will help motivate you to continue your studies and finish your course.
Complete self-guided, additional study
Whether you’re studying within your current field or changing your career direction entirely, immersing yourself in the field you’re studying in can help you gain a more complete understanding of the topic.
Find and read recommended books about your topic, find podcasts or documentaries or even YouTube channels that can help you broaden your knowledge on the subject. This additional self-guided study can help you better tackle your course and start you on the path to become an expert on your subject.
Studying as a working professional can be difficult. There’s a lot of competing priorities and it can be overwhelming but with some commitment and planning you can excel at studying and working.
Study smarter by planning a study schedule, finding time to rest, tracking your progress and exploring RPL to speed up your studies. If you would like to explore what RPL you might be eligible for, you can learn more about RPL here, or get in touch with our friendly course advisors. They can help you find the right course for you.