For most people, studying and education doesn’t stop at the end of school or university. Expanding knowledge throughout different stages of life is vital to upskilling in a career and professional and personal development. Whether you’re a new student or furthering your credentials, balancing study with your life and career can sometimes be overwhelming. While it’s natural you’ll feel the pressure juggling these important aspects of your life, the good news is there are small steps you can implement to help you manage. Here are our best tips on how you can balance your career and study. Plan in advance Planning in advance is imperative to avoiding unwanted surprises when balancing study, life and career. It’s important to know your deadlines, appointments and social commitments in advance to plan your time efficiently. An up-to-date calendar highlighting important dates is valuable for your awareness and managing your workload. You can also put major deadlines in your phone calendar as an extra reminder. If you’re studying online, chances are you can access study materials before the course starts. Take advantage of this and get a head start on assignments and exam preparation when you have downtime. When planning in advance, find opportunities where you have spare time, such as after work or weekends, or your lunch break or commute, to catch up on study if work consumes most of your day. Know your priorities Knowing what your priorities are is significant to planning and organisation. Assess what’s important to you during demanding times and once you identify your priorities, work out how you’ll balance your time. Be realistic about what you can manage and avoid leaving study and assignments to the last minute. There may be days where you may have to sacrifice commitments, such as seeing friends or a gym session. Remember your hard efforts will pay off in the long run. If you prioritise and plan your time effectively, you’ll have a better chance of finding a good balance between your career, study and a social life. Get into a routine Getting into a good study routine will help you stay disciplined. Eventually routine becomes a habit and may help you feel more at ease with balancing your study, career and personal commitments. It’s OK if you miss a day of study every now and then. You may find it easier to study on selected days or times of the week to find equity between other commitments. Simple ways to get into a routine include studying for an hour before bed a few times a week, dedicating time during the weekends to catch up and reflect on what you’ve learned, or even on your commute to work if it’s possible. Everyone is different when it comes to studying, so be flexible and find a routine that works best for you. Stay focused and set goals Setting goals is valuable for motivation and staying on track, especially while studying. Whether it’s sticking to the recommended study guide, reading an extra one or two suggested readings every week, or progressively working on an assignment to complete it in advance of the due date, when you start to notice small wins, it’s likely you’ll continue setting goals. Staying focused is also important when balancing your career, life and study. Make an effort to switch off any unnecessary technology while you’re studying to minimise disruptions. If you’re not fond of busy or noisy environments, it’s also wise to study in a quieter space to avoid distractions. The more you remain focused on your studies, the more likely you’ll stay on track with your goals and achievements. When you recognise you’re putting in the time and effort, it’s easier to feel relaxed when taking a break from your studies for a social event or work. Connect and communicate Communicate with your family, peers and managers so they’re aware of your commitments and can help support you in the best way possible. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with your tutors and student support groups. Other students can relate to what you’re going through and may give useful advice on how you can better balance your commitments. By communicating to important people around you, they’ll be part of a significant journey in your life. You’ll be able to share your goals, celebrate successes, and ask for their help when you need it. Take care of yourself Even during stressful times it’s important to look after your health and wellbeing. No matter how busy you are, make a conscious effort to take time out for yourself. Spend time with family and friends, exercise or get outdoors, or simply just relax and take a break. Eating and sleeping have a big effect on how you feel every day. Try to maintain a balanced diet and fuel yourself with healthy food, especially while studying. Aim to get a good night’s rest of seven to nine hours daily to help you rejuvenate and recover for the next day. If you neglect your health and overwork yourself, you’ll notice negative side effects such as lacking motivation, not having the energy to perform well, or possibly falling ill. It’s fair to say that balancing your career, life and study can be stressful at times, but it can be made manageable. When you start making small changes, such as planning and prioritising your time, getting into a routine, staying focused and communicating, you can start to see big improvements. If you’re currently balancing study and your career, we’d love to hear your best tips. Comment below to share!