How to combine work and study effectively
Not all of us have the luxury to be able to study without having to work at the same time. Yet while it may have its pressures, a work and […]
Not all of us have the luxury to be able to study without having to work at the same time. Yet while it may have its pressures, a work and study arrangement can also be beneficial to you if you get the balance right. Here’s our advice on how to make it work.
Get your employer on board
Organisations these days tend to offer a range of policies that will help you combine work and study. Many encourage professional development – especially if it might benefit them in the long run, so you could find yourself being nurtured as a future leader. You may be able to shift your working pattern to fit in with your studies, negotiate extra study leave or even a contribution towards your study costs. Make it clear what you’re offering in return: your commitment and willingness to get stuck in and learn on the job.
Even if flexible working options aren’t formally available at your company, it’s still worth letting your line manager know about your studies – if nothing else they’ll be more understanding about last minute holiday requests for extra revision.
Find the connection
Hopefully there’s some overlap between what you’re studying and what you’re doing for work. If you’re studying for a financial qualification, you should be working in (or near) a finance team. While your role maybe quite rigid, use your initiative to find a way to complete tasks or even shadow someone whose role more directly relates to what you’re studying, even volunteering your services for an hour a week to assist them can give you a practical insight to the theory of your study. This may change from module to module, but you’ll be regarded very highly if you’re seen to be wanting to learn more and support colleagues at the same time – just don’t neglect your own job in the process!
If you’re really struggling to find a connection between your job and what you’re studying, you should consider finding another job, or asking for a transfer within your current organisation. When it comes to the business end of your qualification and you’re looking to use it seriously once you’ve completed it, you’ll need all the experience and exposure to your dream role you can get, so being stuck in an unrelated role won’t do you many favours.
Maximise your personal effectiveness
They say that if you want something done: ask a busy person. Why? Because they are most effective at managing time and tasks. Juggling work and study (even if they are relatively unrelated) will still benefit you in terms of increasing your personal effectiveness and time management, so you’ll need to learn to plan your time to make sure you fit everything in.
Get used to finding and using nuggets of time that normally go wasted – read on your commute, revise during your lunchbreak or listen to a podcast while you’re doing the housework. Commit solid hours here and there for study, while making time for your family and socialising. When you’ve finished your studying (or are resting in between modules) you’ll be amazed at how much free time you seem to have and how good you got at efficient multitasking – an essential skill in business!
Make a real effort to get to know your classmates. You will occasionally need to text someone in a last-minute panic about something you don’t understand, and your non-student friends may not appreciate your situation or be able to help. A student cohort is incredibly important for the support that you will need at difficult times and can be a good group to go to the pub with to unwind after a long study session. You may also find yourself with a whole new friendship circle, and some potentially useful business contacts in the future.