THE BLOG
07/25/2016 03:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Balancing Work And School: 4 Broad Tips To Beat The Overwhelm And Still Come Out Tops

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So you decided to get a degree to advance in your career. That's great! This only means a better position in your workplace, becoming more of an expert in your career, and even the possibility of a raise in your paycheck.

Going back to school is a praise-worthy venture, but if you work 40+ hours-a-week job and face projects and deadlines, this dream of yours can sound pretty crazy.

Many have done it before without compromising productivity or quality of job and academics. Its all about your mindset and strategy.

You can glide through the hustle with these topnotch tips:

1. Be Self Motivated And Determined

Balancing school with your already challenging job requires a lot of hard work. The combined stress from your workplace and academic activities can be extremely overwhelming. There will be times when you'll feel like throwing in the towel.

Being confident that you can excel at work and school will give you the reason to keep going when you are going through those tough times. What I am saying is that your greatest source of motivation should not come from without. You need to motivate yourself to achieve this objective.

Here is how you can do this:

Have a vision board

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The vision board is a great way to keep yourself focused on your goal. Have a cork board where you can pin pictures of people graduating, pictures of your dream career or a simply a handwritten note with your name and your new title or qualifications on it.

Put up anything that will constantly remind you why you want to go back to school and achieve your dream and look at it regularly.

Use Reminders

Set reminders in your phone that will help you keep in mind your goal to get a degree. Set the reminders such that they pop up at different times of the day.

Positive Affirmations

Have a positive affirmation that you recite everyday to keep you motivated. What you tell yourself, is what you believe in. Constant repetition of your goal and your ability to achieve it will keep you pumped and ready to face all odds. When you feel stressed out, recite those soothing words and enjoy the benefits and calm

2. Have A Well-Defined Plan

Saying "I have a plan" is never enough, if you cannot properly communicate that plan with deadlines, strategies and figures, then it is just a wish. A clear plan will give you a blueprint that you can follow. A clear plan helps prevents chaos. Without a plan you'll get overwhelmed and totally unproductive.

Here is how you can do this:

Plan ahead every day

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Before you go to sleep, outline the important tasks that you have to complete for the day. Writing down the important tasks of the day will help keep the next day in perspective, so that when you wake up the next day, you'll know exactly what to do and what time to do it.

Set aside a few days solely for study before the exams

School can be stressful most especially during the exam season. Make arrangements with your boss to have a few of days off so that you can focus solely on study for the exams. Most bosses are understanding in matters relating to school so don't assume it is impossible if you haven't tried.

3. Manage Your Time Wisely

This is one of the most important keys to balancing work and school. It may seem like there's not much time to do anything but with some tweaking, you'll be able to squeeze out those precious minutes to dedicate to school work.

Here is how you can do this:

Work smart:

When you get homework from school try, when possible, to connect your schoolwork with what you do in your job. For example, if you were to write a case study, relate it to the project that you're assigned to at work. Your boss will be happy you're getting the job done and your professor will be happy that you
provided a free focus group. Everyone wins!

Make effective use of weekends and holidays

Weekends and holidays are ideal to dedicate to studying. You're off work and you have a lot of free time on your hands. Plus, you'll be able to catch up on a bit of sleep too. Sleep is a good use of time as long as it is moderate. Sometimes what we call overwhelming isn't. You are just tired.

Dump any useless activity

Watching TV, going to the movies, chatting on social media, or anything that will occupy your time has to be set aside or done very minimally. Use that time instead to do your schoolwork, prepare for the next lecture or catch up with some studying. There will be plenty of time for all that when you bag that degree.

Make use of the time spent commuting

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If going to work or school requires commuting via a public train or bus or taxi, use that time to do something productive like school work. A clever trick is to record your lectures using a phone or a voice recorder, then listen to the lectures while you're commuting.

4. Pushed To The Wall? Get Some Help

There are times when despite all the planning or time management, you still have work way above your capacity. In such a situation, you may need extra help.

Consider outsourcing your coursework. Sites like Fiverr, Easy Writing Service, Upwork, or Freelancer can help you out with people qualified and willing to almost any kind of project or design for a very reasonable fee.

That said, what were those excuses again?