The pandemic has shown us that going to work and going to school can all be done online, albeit with a few challenges of their own. In fact, you may have even taken the opportunity to do both at the same time now that work and school is being done remotely. However, doing work and school in the comfort of your own home doesn’t automatically make things easier. Just like normal times, balancing your time between school and work can be a challenge–and often downright exhausting.
So, how do you work full-time and take online classes without compromising one or the other (nor your health and sanity)? Here are some strategies that can help:
1. Know your limits
First things first, you have to know where your limitations lie. Can you really obtain a carpentry trade qualification certificate with the current demands of your job? How many units can you realistically take and pass? Will you still have enough time for yourself even after making these commitments?
By knowing your limits, it will be easier to manage your time amongst all of your responsibilities. So if you can’t take n number of classes with your current workload or vice versa, don’t push it. Otherwise, you might end up with not nearly enough time on your hands, leading you to become burnt out on top of the stresses of the pandemic.
2. Be ready to make sacrifices
When you’re doing work and school at the same time, you’re bound to make some sacrifices along the way. Maybe you won’t be able to sleep in as much as you used to. Or perhaps your TV time will be limited to 30 minutes instead of an hour on weekdays. Whatever the case may be, it’s best to be ready to make some sacrifices for the sake of managing your time well.
3. Set up a designated workspace
Having a space dedicated to school and work helps separate them from your personal life, which is incredibly important now that you’re essentially stuck at home. It can be tempting to attend online classes while in bed or do your work in front of the TV in the living room, but these habits can blur the thin line between work/school and personal time.
For instance, working or studying on the couch can lead you to associate that space with work and school. As a result, you will be more likely to think about work and school when you’re just trying to relax and enjoy your free time.
4. Organize your workspace
Setting up a designated workspace is not enough. Of course, you also have to ensure that it stays organized and clutter-free. Moreover, you have to organize your things in a way that your work stuff doesn’t get mixed up with your school stuff. In this way, you can stay focused on your work and get it done on time.
Another benefit of keeping your workspace is organized is that you are less likely to waste time looking for a specific item. When you have a place for everything in your workspace (and actually put things back where they belong), you can go about your day without spending five minutes looking for that stapler that you swore you just saw yesterday.
5. Keep a planner
When you are both a student and a full-time employee, it can be difficult to keep track of what you need to and when you need to do it. And it’s not just your work and school responsibilities that you have to keep track of–you also have to do chores, run errands, attend to personal matters, and of course, take time to rest.
To keep your schedule neat and organized, keep a planner or a calendar where you can write down all of your tasks, appointments, deadlines, and notes. This will make it easier for you to stay on top of your responsibilities without getting frazzled. More than that, writing down what you have to accomplish will make them seem less intimidating as opposed to keeping a mental notepad.
Establish an open communication system with your supervisors and professors. Let them know that you are doing both work and school at the same time so that you can seek help from them whenever you are feeling overwhelmed. Similarly, communicate with the people in your household as well as close friends–they need to be aware that you’re handling multiple roles at once and are in need of their understanding and support.
Wearing many hats can be difficult, especially in the middle of a pandemic. With that in mind, try to find ways on how to balance all of your roles in the most efficient way possible, starting with these strategies.