Studying and working at the same time is very much a time management issue and that is where most people go wrong. In a nutshell, it boils down to this: There are a million “things” to do. Among others, work, study, eat, sleep, have a social and romantic life, train, use social networks, read, travel, and the list can go on forever.
As you can see, very few activities are vital, some are necessary and others are dispensable. Working, studying and sleeping will take up a good part of your day, so try to manage what you do with the rest of the time. Try to make them really valuable activities for you; maybe you’ll have to choose between binge-watching your favorite series for four hours or watching your friends. The best thing is that you put together a weekly agenda and decide in advance how much time you will dedicate to each of the activities you want to do.
1.- Be realistic
To study and work at the same time you must, above all, be realistic. You will suffer a lot if you do not do it and you will think that you are not giving your all, even if you do. Do not pretend to be the perfect employee, the first of your class and receive you in record time. Keep in mind that study plans have “ideal” deadlines, which are far from reality.
Therefore, if you work, it is inevitable that it will take a little longer to finish your studies and you will not be able to prepare all the exams as well as you would like. In that sense, you have to rethink your goals, reestablish what success is for you and propose appropriate deadlines. Resources are limited, that is the base from which you start.
2.- Choose wisely
On the other hand, you must choose wisely what to study and where to work. If you need to cross the entire city to attend classes, you will lose valuable hours getting there. It is not impossible to do it, but when you organize your agenda you should consider the time you spend traveling. An interesting option is to take a freelance job or take a distance course, which will allow you to do it from home or wherever you are.
3.- Learn to study
It is curious that universities and institutes teach content, but not how to incorporate it in the most efficient way. It is an apprenticeship that will be on your own if you want to work and study at the same time. There are dozens of scientific studies that offer clues on how to learn more, in less time. We do not intend to dwell on the subject, but some tips are:
Teach classes: According to a scientific study, if you put yourself in the role of teacher and give classes on the topics you study, this will improve learning, you will have a more general idea of the contents and how they relate to each other.
Leave the screens: There is no denying that digital devices are more practical than the old printed book. However, Kate Garland, a psychology professor at the University of Leicester, found that studying through screens causes students to take longer to learn. Although they eventually catch up to those who read on paper, they must spend more time on it.
Diversify: For his part, Robert Bjork, director of the Laboratory of Learning and Forgetting at the University of California, affirms that it is better to study different aspects of the same topic, rather than focus on just one.
Ditch multitasking: Finally, research says that multitasking is a myth. The brain is unable to multitask. Instead, what it actually does is jump from one task to another and each time, there is one process that stops and another that starts. That is inefficient.
If you browse the web you will find much more research and articles on how to study better. We recommend that you do it and see which ones suit you. No teacher is interested in how many hours you have studied for an exam, but rather that you can solve it successfully.
4.- Limit the use of mobile phones and social networks
You may not believe it, but you probably spend more time looking at your mobile phone than you suspect. Statistics show that, for example, we spend 5 hours and 18 minutes of each day connected to the Internet. Of that time, 1 hour and 39 minutes were spent on social media. That is more than 11 hours per week dedicated to reviewing Instagram, Facebook and other platforms.
TIP: There are dozens of apps that allow you to control the use you make of your mobile and social networks. For example, Checky, which counts how many times you have checked your mobile in the last 24 hours; or Freedom, which blocks websites and apps so you can keep your focus on what really matters.
5.- Take care of your health
Finally, you should not neglect your health. Staying healthy is important, and not just because doctors say so. Consider that if you get sick, you will have to miss classes and then catching up will be a real hassle. Therefore, do not forget to sleep between 7 and 8 hours a day, practice some sport to release endorphins, take care of your diet and pay attention to your mental health.
Now that you have finished reading this guide with 5 tips on how to work and study at the same time, you can now say that you have taken the first step on the road to putting your life in order and achieving your goals.