FASEA’s new professional standards mean many experienced financial advisers will be looking to fit study back into their busy lifestyles. While this can seem like a tough burden to bear, returning to study isn’t as hard as you think. Here are our top tips to assist you in navigating study while working. Apply your knowledge Undertaking further study related to your field of work means you’re building on your existing knowledge; use this to your advantage. The practical skills you gain through further formal education are often best retained when applied to your day-to-day role. This not only assists you in the workplace but supports you in understanding the course content. Making an active effort to apply practical course material to your professional practice can create a more engaging and positive student experience. Study in your own time Daily routines consisting of family, personal and work commitments can leave you with only pockets of time to dedicate to study. One of the many advantages of online learning is the flexibility it gives you to complete study in your own time, not the other way around. If you work better earlier in the morning, then you can get through course material before heading to work. Alternatively, if your mornings and afternoon are full of other responsibilities, you can set aside some time to focus before you sleep. It’s important to remember if the stress of keeping up with your daily demands becomes too challenging, student support and assistance is available to you. Work as a steady pace Returning to study can be overwhelming and sometimes our natural response is to take in as much information as we can. Exhausting your head space by attempting to retain as much information as you can in a short amount of time, can often have the opposite intended effect. It’s important to treat your brain like an hour glass. Sift through tasks one at a time, work through priorities, and be smart about how you manage your schedule. Before knuckling down, form a study strategy to assist you in staying focused. Get yourself organised Successful workflow and time management starts with organisation. Before you begin studying, ensure you have an organisation system in place that works for you. This could range from using the digital calendar on your phone to developing a new note-taking technique. Simply having the right study materials on hand or referencing strategy in place can save you a great deal of time. The key to a solid organisation system is creating one that you know you’ll stick to throughout the study period. Make use of technology Embracing modern day technology can allow you to become more productive and innovative in the way you study. From automated reminders to advanced note-taking applications, there’s a great range of apps available to help you perform at your best throughout the study period. For example, Evernote is a popular app that allows you to take notes in multiple formats (photo, video, voice etc.) and sync them across your devices. Study smarter and avoid wasting time by utilising some of these nifty study apps. Discover your comfort zone When you go to work, you use an office to help you focus and create a productive zone. Studying should be no different. It’s crucial you find a comfortable environment that assists you in focusing on your material. This could be a café, library or quiet room … but it must be free of distractions. Setting yourself the precedent of turning off your phone and removing potential distractions when you study can sharpen your focus. If this proves difficult due to professional or personal commitments, take five minutes every hour or so to check your notifications. Notify your employer An effective way to assist yourself in juggling commitments is to communicate and keep your employer updated. Letting your employer know you’re undertaking further study can strengthen your relationship and give them a greater understanding of your current responsibilities. Gaining a further qualification showcases your dedication to the industry and role. This in turn could potentially lead to a more study-friendly work environment. Have you recently returned to study? What helped you get back into the groove? Share your experience below!