Everyone who’s ever been a student knows how hard it is to study. There are endless requirements and homework, not to mention all our other responsibilities and duties in other areas of our lives. But not everyone has the privilege to devote their entire lives to studying-some of us have to work to make ends meet, forcing us to juggle our education and paying the bills. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 43 percent of undergraduate students were also employed in 2020, telling us that indeed, almost half of college students need the income while they are trying to finish their degree.
It’s not easy to juggle work and school, but we all need to try to do the best of any situation. Here are some essential tips for working students who want to stay healthy and manage their time well.
Consider taking online classes
Opting for online school makes the most sense when you also have to work. It will eliminate travel time, giving you more hours in the day to focus on studying or responsibilities at work. Even if you’re studying something incredibly technical, like a course in Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, you would still learn a lot as long as the institution is known for having a skilled set of educators and compassion for their students, especially during these trying times. Give yourself a fighting chance and look into schools that offer online schooling.
Establish a schedule and stick to it
Making a schedule and sticking to it is foundational to good time management. It may sound basic and obvious, but there’s a good reason for that. It works. Here are some tips for creating a schedule and sticking to it:
- Get your class schedule and work your way from there, unless your job came first before you decided to go back to school. Look at the first thing you established: Is it your work schedule or class schedule? Whatever came first, make it your priority and let it influence the rest of your scheduling decisions.
- If you don’t have evening classes or night shifts, try to make a habit of waking up early. There is scientific evidence that early risers are more productive, so if you have so many responsibilities throughout your day or week, then becoming a morning person might be your best bet to achieve more throughout the day.
- Make room for five or ten-minute breaks throughout your day, and don’t skip breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Do not neglect this step, no matter how simple it is. The best thing you can do for your productivity is to create a schedule and honor it as much as possible.
Deal with procrastination from the roots
If you are prone to laziness or procrastination, don’t be too quick to beat yourself up over it. Instead, listen to your mind and body, and ask yourself these questions:
- Is there something about this task that scares you? For example, if you have a math class but you can’t seem to get started on your homework, try to remember if you had bad experiences with math growing up. Math trauma is real, but it can be healed.
- Do you find the task easy and feel like you can afford to start on it a bit later? The thing with this mindset is that it’s a traitor, and allowing yourself to indulge in this thought and practice consistently might cost you so much later on.
- Find ways to see if you have a fear of failure and if it’s influencing your ability to get things done now.
Be gentle with yourself
And last but not least, don’t forget that you are human, not a machine. The only way for you to get things done is if you have you are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Find ways to work the following into your routine:
- Opt for healthier meals and ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients rich in fiber and nutrients.
- Squeeze in at least fifteen minutes of cardio a day. Follow a Zumba routine on YouTube.
- If negative thoughts are starting to overwhelm you, reach out to a friend or family member you trust.
- Make sure you have at least one day of rest once every two weeks. Focus on your hobbies and leisure activities on that day.
Being a working student is hard, but it’s not a permanent situation. Remember that you are doing this for your future, so practice delayed gratification and believe that better days are ahead.