How to Handle School When You Work Full Time

There are millions of people in America's workforce today that are no stranger to balancing work, school and personal lives. In fact, in 2015, a study at Georgetown University found that nearly 40% of undergraduate students and 76% of graduate students work a minimum of 30 hours while pursuing their degree. 

With those statistics, it's no surprise 85% of college students have reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of things on their plate. Here are a few things you can do to help you manage!

Make a List, Check it Twice

When you have more work than you do time, managing it is key. To-do lists can help you, but we’re not talking about your average list. Instead of compiling a running list that can bring to light all of the things waiting to be done, make a priority list. List out:

  • Items that absolutely need to be done now

  • Items that need to be done relatively soon, but are not as urgent

  • Items where you are waiting on someone or something

  • Items that you want to do but can wait.

Once you make your initial list, review it a couple of times to make sure everything is properly categorized. Initially, it can seem like everything is high priority and urgent, but trust me - it’s not!

Schedule Time for Yourself

I know it seems counterintuitive, but I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the burnout syndrome play out, including with myself. Some people ultimately have rage fits or mental breakdowns, which leads to either abruptly quitting their job or quitting school. It also has the potential to leave a bad taste in your mouth, when really there may not have been much wrong with work or school. 

By allowing yourself to decompress (and actually take care of yourself) your body and brain become better equipped to handle the compounding stress of balancing work and school. Additionally, you may have the bonus effect of becoming more creative and efficient.

Learn to Say “No”

Yes, I saved the hardest for last. It can be incredibly difficult to say no to situations that you might feel will move you ahead in life. It can also be difficult to say no to friends and family when what you’re probably craving the most is human interaction.

The reality is, you probably don’t want to be known as the person who cannot delegate or forgets to do things all of the time. And if that is the case, then sometimes saying no to staying late at work or going out with friends is going to help you fit in some other crucial tasks (including “me” time). 

Bottom Line

In order to manage your workload, you’ll have to find a system that works for you. Hopefully, these tips will help you along the way! 

Bonus Tip: If it is feasible, try out an online class! Some online classes offer more flexibility in your schedule.