With the digital revolution, returning to college for higher education is no longer a distant dream for working professionals. However, the notion that studying online is as easy as plug & play is nothing but a myth. While the virtual ride is smooth for many, there is a fair share of working people who struggle to keep their head above the water especially when it comes to maintaining a balance between work, life & online studies. Therefore, we have compiled a list of tips that can help them sail smoothly in this direction:
1. Keep your boss, friends and family in the loop: You must have heard the saying, “communication is the key in a relationship.” Well, we want to tell you this advice will work like magic in your online learning journey as well.
- Believe it or not, there is a good chance that your employer will be supportive in your online higher education journey, especially if the degree you wish to pursue has the potential to help you excel in your current line of work. Plus, you cannot know if you don’t try!
- Sometimes, the chief advantage of online education, that is, studying from home, can become a disadvantage as well. This is because the line between study time and downtime is a little thin at home. This causes people, we share our primary space with, to infringe it inadvertently. It, therefore, becomes important to set boundaries and communicate them in advance. You must sit down with your friends/family and apprise them of your schedule to avoid strains in your relationships, interruption in your schedule & to maintain a healthy balance between work, life & online studies. They might also extend support around the house and buy you extra time for online studies.
2. Make a Schedule: You must accept the fact that you are not superhuman and doing everything in 24 hours is impossible. However, planning how you will spend your time in advance via a schedule can prove to be an effective way of accomplishing all that you set out to do in a timely manner (if not in a single day).
A schedule with weekly targets will also help you lay out an agenda, prioritize tasks, avoid stress & guilt owing to unfulfilled commitments, eliminate the room for wastage & burnout and consequently, achieve a healthy balance between work, life & online studies.
3. Take Breaks: Now that we have highlighted the importance of a schedule with weekly targets & deadlines, we would also like to advise you to remain fluid & aim for a realistic schedule instead of an ideal one. This is because there can be days that require you to devote more time to work or study, days that require you to be there for your family or days when you don’t have the energy for work, family or online studies! Nonetheless, these are rare occurrences. All you need to do is be prepared for such a possibility and factor them in your schedule.
That being said, we would recommend you take breaks on your own as well rather than waiting for nature to force you into a break. Plus, all work & no play might lower your productivity. Pace yourself, schedule downtime and take care of your health. Relax alone or with your friends, family and colleagues, recharge & bounce back with higher energy!
4. Stay efficient while studying : The golden key to maintaining a balance between work, life & online studies is efficiency. An online student must stick to his schedule, avoid procrastination, block all distractions (especially social media) while studying and most importantly, be creative in order to be at the top of his academic game without damaging the balance between the three. A few ways in which an online student can be creative include watching a lecture while travelling to work, completing coursework during the lunch break, clocking in some extra study hours when everybody is fast asleep in the early morning or late night and more.
5. Aim for excellence not perfection : Straight A’s sound perfect but they demand one-of-a-kind hard work & focus, which let’s be honest, can be a little difficult when you are juggling between work, life & online studies. You must gain a good understanding of the subjects & aim for decent scores so that you do not feel disheartened if your academic performance does not match your expectations and that too, at the cost of your work & professional relationships.
Conclusion: Though online education offers a great deal of flexibility, striking a balance between work, life & online studies can be tricky. However, communication, planning, efficiency, motivation and clear vision & strategy can prove to be of great help.