Six Tips On Balancing Work, Family And Postgraduate Study
Balancing the demands of university, home life and work can be challenging.
As a postgraduate student, there may be times when you feel there simply aren’t enough
hours in the day. Plus, compared with a graduate degree, you typically have far more
independent study time which puts a greater onus on you to manage your time effectively.
To help you with this headache, we’ve put together six top tips for creating a more
harmonious balance between work, family and study during your time as a postgraduate
Try to focus on one task at a time
Ditch multitasking for a more logical approach. Did you know you’re more likely to be
effective if you focus on one task at a time? Research shows that students who multitask
achieve lower grades overall.
When we try to multitask, usually we’re just switching from task to task at a rapid rate. When
your brain is constantly switching gears, you’re more likely to make a mistake. To boost your
performance, focus your time on one assignment until it is complete, and then move on
methodically to the next thing on your to-do list.
Identify your learning style
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Figure out when you’re most productive and use the
time around it for family time and work.
For instance, if you’re most productive between 6 A.M. and noon, study during this time.
When applying for jobs, opt for work that will keep these hours free where possible, for
instance, a restaurant that opens later in the afternoon.
If you normally speak to a friend for an hour in the morning, try to reschedule this out of your
optimum studying hours. Making a few simple switches can really make a difference in the
Plan, plan, plan
At the start of the academic year, jot down as much information as you can into a calendar,
such as family plans, deadlines and assignment dates.
1 Make it our time: In-class multitaskers have lower academic performance, 2015
Take stock of each university term to add extra dates of note. Also, get your loved ones on
board. Let them know about your studies, and that you might need plenty of notice for social
events, especially in the lead-up to exam season.
Build up a support system
Get a study buddy, utilise your university’s support services and build up a network of people
you can talk to. Remember that academic results are only part of the university experience,
so don’t give up your social life and study 24/7.
One of the best elements of student life is the friends that you make, and these people could
turn out to become trusted allies as your careers unfold in tandem.
Reward yourself from time to time
Choosing to study at a postgraduate level is a huge commitment, so schedule regular rewards
during your studies to give you that much-needed dopamine boost.
You might book a meal out at your favourite restaurant or organise an evening with your
friends after submitting an assignment. This is a great way to keep you on track during your
studies before you cross the finish line.
Manage part-time work
Keep your working hours to an amount you can manage. At the postgraduate level, you’ll be
expected to study for at least 25 hours a week, on top of your timetabled classes and
If you’re spending too much time at work, you might find yourself burning out or wind up
distracted from your studies. Tell your employer about your academic commitments and
warn them well in advance that you might need some extra time off during exam season.
Consider Flexitime, which is a great way of fitting working hours around your lifestyle. The
good news is many employers now offer flexible working as part of their employee benefits.
 Make it our time: In-class multitaskers have lower academic performance, 2015
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