Hello study, goodbye social life?
If you’re an older student, you may be worried that going back to uni would eat up even more of your very limited free time. That it will be too tough to wrangle study with work, family and a social life. But it can be done, we promise. Here are some tips to manage your time and succeed on all fronts.
Set yourself an achievable goal
To quote Tony Robbins, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”. One effective way to set goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T criteria. So your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Going through this process should give you a clear idea of what you are studying for and why it is important to you. Go back to these goals when you are deep into your studies and struggling for motivation.
Make a schedule
A goal without a plan is just a wish. Whether it’s a time management app or an old-school calendar on the fridge, or your bedroom wall, you should create a schedule and stick to it. This means making time for classes, assignments, exams, study, family and work commitments, exercise, friends and fitting in some fun.
Keep everyone informed
Let the people who need to know your schedule, know your schedule. This includes your partner, your family, your boss, your friends, your children, their caregivers, or anyone who could possibly spring something last minute on you. Your life will be much easier if you communicate with the people around you and let them know when you can socialise, when you need help with errands and when you need to study.
Take time out to have fun
While you are busying scheduling work, study and family time do not forget to take time to schedule in time for fun, whatever that means to you. It might be going for a walk on the beach, lunch with friends, going to the movies or curling up with a good book. By having those plans added into your schedule, you're literally making sure you have enough time to go and do them. It won't be interfering with anything else because it made it into your diary.
It will be tempting to push yourself to your limits, study late into the night, answer work emails at all hours and put in a superhuman effort to achieve your goals. But it won’t be long until you are burnt out and exhausted. It is important to set boundaries, know your limits and learn to say no.
Look after your health
You’ve heard it before but clichés are clichés for a reason, it really is so important to exercise regularly and eat a nutritious, balanced diet. Avoid consuming too much caffeine or sugar. Above all be kind to yourself. A positive and compassionate attitude can help you manage stressful times.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are becoming overwhelmed it will help to talk to someone about it. Speak to a friend, family member, your GP or a counsellor. Ask for help when you need it and accept help when it is offered – realise that you cannot do everything.
Think you’re ready to take the leap? Apply now.
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