There are many different reasons why students balance work and study. Some want to start gaining professional experience and improve their employability as soon as possible; others need the extra money to get them through their academic career. Many like the independence from earning a salary - after all, things bought with cash we’ve earned bring twice as much joy. However, you might be worrying about the different factors affecting study-life balance.
10 Tips For Balancing Work And Study
University is meant to be the best time in your life, so it’s perfectly understandable if you’re anxious that finding a job might kill your social life and ruin these incredible years. Here’s how you can achieve the perfect work-study-life balance:
Learn how to be organised
We know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done.
But did you know that employers place organisational skills among the top 11 most important skills they look for in potential employees? This means that to get your dream job and beat the competition, you will still need to master organisational skills one day.
The sooner you start, the better. Building a solid habit of staying organised at university will become natural by the time you graduate. It will also make it easier to balance work and study and have an effective work study balance. To begin with:
- Get a journal.
- Write down every deadline, assignment, and homework on the horizon.
- Include all your tasks related to your studies and those at work.
- Use different colours to categorise everything in order of importance.
- Use highlighters, coloured pens, and page markers.
You will be surprised how having a physical copy of every task you must complete will help you put things into perspective.
If you still think the old pen-and-paper method needs to be updated, use planner apps and the calendar on your mobile devices. Turn on notifications and set them to pop up in advance. You may also create a spreadsheet, which will allow you to keep track of all tasks. You can share it with someone you trust and ask them to monitor your progress. In case you want to use softwares help plan you studes , you can check out this blog - 10 best apps to plan your studies better! Using these apps can also benefit you to balance work and study together.
Work on your time management skills
When you get a job, you will lose part of the free time you had previously dedicated to completing your schoolwork. You must manage the remaining time wisely to balance work and study well.
Procrastination is a common enemy. It is also one of the primary negative factors affecting study-life balance. We all fall into its clutches from time to time. It cannot be avoided entirely - but it can be minimised.
This is exactly what time management is all about. Many wrongly assume it means having no time to ourselves. That’s not true! On the contrary - well-developed time management skills will improve your work-study-life balance.
Only some people can work in assigned time slots, like robots. You don’t have to structure your day into 2-hour blocks, during which you can’t do anything else than work or study. It can be more fluid; be flexible but be diligent.
If you decide the number of workloads demands you dedicate 2 hours of every day to studying, it doesn’t have to be, say, 5 PM until 7 PM every single day. Your work schedule will likely differ day by day or maybe even change every week or month if you work hourly.
But even though the time slot doesn’t have to be rigid, make sure you spend those 2 hours of every day studying. It can be one in the morning and one in the evening, or two hours together during the day. Doing this will really help balance work and study properly.
Don’t stress yourself out by committing to set times you can’t always follow, but don’t let the time get away from you, either. It will ruin your chances of successfully balancing work and study.
Pro tip: productivity apps are a great way to avoid procrastination. Some assess how much time you spend focused, while others block all social media notifications within a specific timeframe to eliminate potential distractions. Choose one that corresponds to your needs and use it to your advantage.
Remember how we told you to mark pending tasks in different colours in order of importance in the first point? Well, first, you need to be able to identify which ones are the most important. And sometimes, it is tougher than it seems.
To balance work and study, you must know how to prioritise everything you do. Imagine there is an exam you’re dreading coming up. It’s a class you don’t like, with a professor who hates you for no reason. You don’t get the topic; it doesn’t interest you, and studying for it is the last thing you want to do right now.
But there is also an assignment due in a few weeks that you’re looking forward to. Be it a group project you can complete with your classmates or a presentation on a topic you’re into.
So even though the test is next week and the other assignment isn’t due until next month, you still choose to start working on the latter first.
You cannot do this if you want to balance work and study effectively.
Being organised means completing the tasks that must be done first. We have already mentioned that a job will consume some of the time you were used to having to yourself. This means that things can no longer be done randomly, but the order of doing them needs to be well thought-through.
Think about it this way: the sooner you get the more annoying - but more urgent - tasks out of the way, the sooner they will be over, and you can start working on something you want to do!
Create a weekly schedule
Did you know it takes about three months to form a new habit? Is it a lot? Surprisingly little? The answer is very subjective so we will leave it to your own judgement.
What is not subjective, however, is that creating a weekly schedule makes developing a new habit much more accessible. Whether you like routine or not, it is a universal fact that humans are hard-wired to follow some sort of pattern. We can’t argue with science, but we can accept it and act accordingly to help things along.
A weekly schedule is one of the positive factors affecting work-life balance. It will make it much easier to balance work and study and still enjoy some you-time at the end of the day.
It may take time to adjust to a new daily plan. But the fantastic thing about being human is that we are incredibly adaptable creatures. Structure helps us function properly, so before you know it, you will subconsciously get used to your new schedule so much that you will find it hard to return to the old habits. You will soon become a master at maintaining a work-study-life balance.
While your weekly schedule should include all tasks related to studies and work, it should also remain flexible. You can’t plan out every single minute of your life - not even if you do it week-by-week. Unexpected things happen, so avoid unnecessary stress by accepting that your timetable may be subject to changes. Study stress is something every student faces and making a schedule will really help reduce that. You can also check out the blog on how you can deal with exam stress using simple techniques!
Find a job that will adjust to your university timetable.
Trying to balance work and study is arduous if your employer doesn’t help you. Don’t spread yourself too thin by working for someone who can’t accommodate your needs when there are so many student-friendly workplaces to choose from.
The most popular positions among students are usually in hospitality, services, and retail. Because of how many young people apply for them, employers know their needs and are willing to adjust the working hours to their timetables.
However, suppose you’re interested in working in another industry and wish to start taking steps to make a name for yourself as soon as possible. In that case, the aforementioned positions are not your only options. It’s not uncommon for students to work in marketing, sales, finance, or even HR. And it’s not impossible to balance work and study this way.
Did you know that many companies require the ability to sign a learning agreement with a university to hire an intern? This is because, in many countries, an employer cannot legally offer an internship position without this document.
This is good news for you. If the requirement for being an intern is often being a student, it will be no surprise to the employer that you are still tied to your responsibilities at university. They will help you balance work and study by providing a flexible working schedule and an understanding that you don’t have the availability of a full-time employee.
Many students hone their skills by providing freelance services. If you want to be a freelancer then check our blog on how you can start working as a freelancer as a student!
Focus on the bright side
It might get frustrating, having to balance work and study constantly. You will see some of your colleagues enjoying more free time, staying out later than you’re able to, or going out more often.
In moments of weakness, remember why you’re doing this. Recall the feeling of pride when you received your first paycheck—the happiness of buying something with your money for the first time. You do not have to feel guilty when you indulge because it’s your cash, so you can only decide what you spend it on.
Think about how far ahead you will be on the job market when you graduate compared to everyone else who didn’t have a job while studying. Balancing work and study will have taught you a dozen organisational, management, and communication skills.
You will have finished university with work experience you will be able to add to your graduate CV. This will make you a desirable candidate and put you above the competition.
Self-motivation and the desire to grow are among the top 10 expectations employers have for employees. In a 2022 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, 72.5% of employers indicated they want candidates to show initiative.
There is no better way to prove you come with those sought-after attributes than by showing you can balance work and study. Graduates who work alongside their degree are seen as ambitious and motivated - not to mention they come with a range of highly desirable skills having to balance work and study has taught them.
So, whenever you feel like maintaining the work-study-life balance is hard now, focus on how you’re making life easier for the future. In a few years, you will look back and thank your present self. Because when you balance work and study, you can be proud of yourself now, and you will still be proud of yourself in the future.
Know your limits
The key to balance work and study is to say no when required and set boundaries.
You don't want to scramble and finish your essay the night before. Your academic work at university involves complete commitment and focus; giving it your full attention is necessary to balance work and study! Therefore, setting priorities and making plans are your best defences against deadlines that sneak up on you in the process to balance work and study.
Use the lovely diary you purchased, or jot down your activities and create a to-do list! Putting out the effort to keep track of your assignments will serve as a reminder to finish them on time and make you feel accomplished.
Communication to help you balance work and study
If you choose to work while you study, it can be difficult to balance work and study and it's critical to keep a positive working relationship with your boss. Inform everyone about how you're handling things honestly and transparently. The demands of the university are already rather high, so be honest about your availability and express any worries about balancing work and study.
Will the workload be too much for you? Keep an eye out for this, and try not to overcommit. You can look into alternate sources of income if you don't have enough time to dedicate to a part-time employment. Consider getting a weekend job. It's a fantastic method to get experience without having to be concerned about it affecting your academics, and it will also help you balance work and study!
Health is Wealth to balance work and study
The trick is to keep yourself physically and psychologically well! Remember that you are still developing and should pay particular attention to your health. Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Your immune system will be boosted, your memory will improve, and you'll be able to handle stress much better. Check out these 15 health tips in order to have a strong body and mind that can help you work and study well!
To maintain your energy levels throughout the day, make sure to eat a variety of healthy foods. Although it can be tempting to order takeout, try aiming for a more balanced diet as you juggle your hectic schedule.
Don't provide weak justifications either. The time it takes to roast some vegetables is equivalent to the time it takes to order a pizza, and it's also more cost-effective. There are so many delectable, inexpensive meals that you can quickly prepare.
These suggestions should help you live a simpler life if you work and go to school at the same time. It is an encounter that will alter both your outlook on life and the workplace. You might want to look into some more useful advice to succeed in your job interviews and first days at work if you're new to finding a job or internship and are looking for a fresh experience.
Be Realistic and Communicate
Set realistic goals for yourself. You know yourself best, so if there are deadlines at your work or study that you think you won't be able to meet adequately, then ask for extensions where possible. Speak to your boss or your professor and explain to them the situation. This will help you either get more time or a solution to get the tasks done. Communication is truly very important to balance work and study!
Hopefully, those tips for balancing work and study have opened your eyes to the world of opportunities juggling a university degree and a job will bring you. If you are on the fence about finding work as a student, don’t overthink it too much.
As we have said, so many students do it. After all, research from the end of 2022 showed that 75% of students would still work even if they didn’t have to. So many young people appreciate the financial and growth opportunities from knowing how to balance work and study - hopefully, we have removed some of your doubts and helped you become one of them.