Working full time or part-time while also tackling a degree is a challenge, but with the right habits, you can not only make easier work of it, you can succeed better at everything that you put your mind to. These tips can help if you have only just started your first attempt at working while tackling an online degree or if you are an old hat looking for a better strategy this time around.
There are many reasons why people continue their education while they work. You may be in a field like nursing, for example, where you are legally required to continue your education in order to advance your career. Taking time off can be daunting and also unnecessary, with many universities around the country offering online degrees specifically designed for working professionals.
Going back to university and pursuing further education can happen at any time. You may be looking to specialize further, branch out, or start again. Whatever boat you’re in, these top motivation and health habits will help you master the work/education juggle:
Find the Right Online Degree
You can’t succeed if you aren’t first set yourself up for success. It’s a cardinal rule and one that will help significantly when it comes to mastering the work/education juggle. It can be tempting to look for and find the first or the “top” online degree, but you don’t necessarily need the best of the best; you need the best degree designed for your situation.
This applies in every situation. It applies if you are looking to start a second career and need an option you can accelerate or fast-track while still completing on a part-time, online basis so that you can continue to work in your current career. It applies if you are already specialized and are considering furthering your credentials further.
Nursing education is an excellent example to follow. Every step of nursing requires further education and qualifications, but with a shortage of nurses and a pandemic raging on taking time off from work to further training is simply not an option. That is why everything, from BSN, to MSN to even post-master’s DNP programs, is available 100% online. With nursing, there are in-person components; yes, you will need to complete clinical hours as part of your degree, but the actual educational component needs to be online, and it needs to be flexible.
The same applies to everyone looking to continue their career while they study, and there will be options that help you succeed.
Setting Up Your Home
Another way to set yourself up for success is to prepare your home. You’d be surprised at how much the right WFH (though, in this case, study-from-home) setup can impact your productivity and also your motivation.
You will need a large enough desk space to comfortably go through all the materials you need at once. You will also need your setup to be somewhere with plenty of natural light. To accommodate night studying and also winter months, you’ll want to find an appropriate light bulb to best mimic the productivity-boosting effects of daylight.
It isn’t just brightness that matters, but the color temperature. On average, daylight is between 5000k to 7000k, which means that bright-white bulbs, which are often between 4000k to 5000k, are best for home workspaces. These do tend to be uncomfortable for living spaces, however, so having these bright white bulbs in a lamp or just near your workspace is best. Having a task light lamp can help you stay productive while minimizing the downsides to using blue-white light in your home.
Having plants and other design interests near you can also boost your mood and your productivity.
Setting Up Your Routine
When it comes to healthy habits, your routine is the perfect place to get started.
1. Break Up Study Times
Breaking up your study periods can help make it feel easy to get through the course content, studying, and any homework or projects you have been assigned. If you have some flexibility over your workday as well, then you can more efficiently fit in both tasks without overly exerting yourself. For example, you can watch a lecture in the morning and then look over those notes again at lunch, and after work, you can then go and complete any remaining tasks required of you.
2. Take Breaks During Study Times
Not only do you need to break up your study periods, but you also should be taking breaks. Taking breaks can minimize fatigue and can help keep you productive and motivated. When on your break, however, you cannot just sit on your phone. Go out for a short walk, enjoy a healthy snack, and so on so that you can refuel and reset.
3. Use Up Dead Time
Have a long wait in a line? At the doctor’s office and have time to spare? Rather than play a game on your phone, use these dead times to revise and study so that you don’t even have to cram in order to pass an exam and can more naturally recall the information in question. While making notes to go over is a great place to start, consider making voice notes as well. This way, you can revise even if you don’t have the luxury of looking at a screen or paper (for example, if you are exercising, driving, or biking).
Healthy Habits to Get Started
You need to be well-rested. You need to eat well. You should also aim to exercise. These three can help you feel better and be better throughout the day. The best way to get the most out of your efforts? Stick to a routine. Going to bed at the same time every day can help you sleep more deeply. Switching out all your unhealthy crutches with healthy foods can immediately make a big difference to your quality of life, memory, and energy levels.
Exercise can be more difficult to easily fit in. If you don’t get started before you enroll, keep it easy. Go for walks outside (which also improves memory and mood) and start your day with stretches to wake up your body and get that blood flowing.
Routine is where you can make tackling a job and a degree possible. It’s how you can more effectively use your energy and how you can accomplish it all – so start today.