Finding Balance While Working and Earning A Degree

study in canada

Working and going to school at the same time forces you to pare down a lot of your life decisions. Your time is finite, but so is your focus and your energy. You may come to realize while working and going to school, that some activities simply are not worth the recovery time!

Set a Regular Bedtime

Determine when you need to get up to

  • study
  • get to work
  • plan your day
  • care for family

and count back 8 hours. This is your bedtime, or at least your time to start winding down to get to bed. Even if you cannot get to bed 8 hours before you have to get up, you may be able to wash up and get in your pajamas right after supper. If you live in a low daylight region, such as if you choose to study in Canada, make sure you get out in the daylight once the sun is up.

Guard Your Morning Brain

Your morning brain is best used for studying and taking in new information. If possible, consider creating a space and time where you can enjoy your morning coffee, read something that makes you smile or lifts your spirits, and then set a timer and get studying or working on your school projects. Let your clan know that this schedule cannot be altered for anything other than an emergency.

To guard the morning brain even further, you can get a little radical. Set up just a few breakfast options and be ready to rotate them to save you from having to make that decision. Invest in some suit hangers and put together 5 outfits when you do laundry on the weekend so your clothing choices are made.

Once you have fulfilled your studying requirement, do something habitually, like walking or showering. Habits are things we do not have to think about, which frees up the creative brain to allow you to make connections with the new content.

Create a Meal Plan

Another way to protect your schedule and manage your time and money budgets is to meal plan. This can be extremely simple. For example, if you have a crockpot, a salad bowl, and a skillet, you can fix dinner for Saturday night in the skillet, load the crockpot for Sunday lunch and fill the salad bowl with chopped veggies for snacks.

Getting multiple meals going during one prep time reduces the time you have to spend in the kitchen. Once you get used to loading these three containers each time you get out the cutting board, you can start reviewing make-ahead recipes. If you eat eggs, keep an eye out for make-ahead brunch dishes to save both time and money.

Set a Quitting Time

If you use your phones for your morning alarm clock, make sure you also set a quitting time to prevent exhaustion. This is particularly crucial during crunch time. If you have a big test coming up or a paper due, this quitting time alarm can be adjusted.

Using a timer can allow you to deep dive into a subject. You do not have to watch the clock if you know that your phone will ding at 9 p.m., so you can lean in and really push, thinking of nothing but your studying goals and the content of your paper.

Create Rewards

Give yourself a little treat when you hit your target, even before you see your grades. If your goal is to get up 45 minutes earlier this week to get more studying done or wrap up a special project at work and you hit your goal, stop and treat yourself to something simple. For those of us watching our waistlines as well as our grades, scented candles, lotion, or flavored teas are a nice treat.

You can also treat yourself during study breaks. Get up and stretch, or make a cup of tea. If you have the willpower, play one game on your phone. If you do not, go outside and blow bubbles. This is insanely relaxing and a great way to beat stress. Inhale, exhale, smile, repeat.

School and work at the same time are really tough. Do your best to protect your brain from making decisions early. Keep life as simple as possible, and celebrate when you meet your goals.

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