How Can I Study and Work at the Same Time? 8 Tips to Get Started

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Many of our students are studying while working full-time in the field. We run our building and construction classes later in the evening to help working students fit study into their schedules. Students join one Zoom class a week from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM and complete self-study in their own time.

These building and construction courses are:

Working full time is a big commitment, so choosing to study on top of work can seem overwhelming.  But, with the right approach and planning, you can find the right balance of work and study for yourself.

Here are 8 tips to help you study while you are working. Many of these steps come from an article prepare by English professor Christopher Taylor, PhD. You can read his article here.

 1. Decide how many hours of study you can handle

Start by looking at your weekly schedule. Check the number of hours you have outside of work. Then figure out how many hours of study per week you would need to complete the qualification.

The number of hours needed to study a building and construction course will vary depending on the qualification. If you cannot fit the study time into your weekly schedule, you may need to drop or move commitments around. You can send us an enquiry form at the end of this blog to learn more about the number of study hours needed.

Student using calculator

2. Take advantage of your work experience while you study

You may be able to use the experience you gain during work in academic assignments. For example, you could pick assignment topics based on your job. If an assessment requires you to help set up a construction business, you could base your assignment on your work. You can gain valuable feedback from your trainer and impress your boss in the process.

Our building and construction courses integrate work experience into your study. For instance, our accelerated Certificate IV Building and Construction course are for students with at least 2-3 years of experience in the field. As a result, we have cut down the total course duration to just 18 weeks instead of the standard year of study.

3. Let your boss know you are studying

It is a good idea to tell your boss that you will have academic responsibilities outside of work. Your boss won’t need to know about your entire personal life. However, you may want to let them know if you have a big or final assignment coming up. They may be able to help you by giving you more time off if needed.

4. Consider lowering your work hours

Studying and working at the same time can take up a fair portion of your day. If you need more time for other commitments but do not want to give up on studying or working, you may want to consider working fewer hours or days.

However, this option is not for everyone. It may be easier to write up your schedule and manage your time.

Laptop with calendar

5. Create a daily plan

Once you know how many hours you will need to study and work, assemble these times into a day plan. In a 2020 video for working students, Dr Abbas Ali discussed his approach to daily planning.

‘This schedule should include pretty much everything you do in a day…The idea is to allocate time to all important things, like studying, your job, socialising, exercise, sleep, everything. This helps you create a balanced environment.

Also, don’t be too rigid about the things you have to do in the allotted time because you can’t predict when the baby starts crying or the boss starts calling you. So, make the schedule that includes everything, but also be a bit flexible around surprises.’2

If you schedule when to work, study, and relax, it will be easier to prepare for classes and assessments.

6. Schedule when to work on assignments and tasks

You can take your calendar to the next level by adding blocks of time to prepare for upcoming assignments. Let’s say that you have an assessment due at the end of the week. If you have blocked out two hours to study on Tuesday and Thursday, you can assign the first hour to work on the assignment. You could aim to complete one part on Tuesday and the next part on Thursday.

By breaking up your assignments and tasks into more manageable chunks over time, you won’t have to work yourself into the ground the evening before a big project is due.1

7. Use your free time constructively

If you want to free up your time at home or work, try to constructively use the small amounts of free time scattered throughout the day. ‘For example, you can read a book (or some study materials) on the way to work if you are a commuter. Also, use a few minutes of your lunch or break time to study.’3

8. Don’t overdo it

Make sure you know your limits. Try to take breaks when you are studying, especially if you are feeling worn out.3 Make sure that you get enough sleep, since ‘you should wake up feeling reasonably rested. Doing this is much better than waking up and feeling tired from staying up half the night.’3

If you are constantly feeling stressed, tired, or unwell, you may need to slow down. If you feel like you need less work or study hours for a while, talk with your boss or trainer about what they can do to help.1

Finally, make sure you have time to relax and let your mind recover.1 There is plenty of advice for maintaining mental and physical health, including Method 5 in Dr Christopher Taylor’s article.

Conclusion

Many of our students are completing an internship or working while they study. Today, we outlined some steps to help you balance your work-study life:

  • plan your schedule,
  • keep a routine, and
  • look after your mental and physical health.

We also recommend having a good understanding of the course before you begin. If you would like to know more about the assessments or study hours for one of our building and construction qualifications, please send us an enquiry below.

We will get back to you and help you take the next step as a building and construction professional.

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