Returning to study is a big commitment, particularly for adults who, more often than not, are also juggling a variety of other responsibilities including work and family. For them, effectively managing their time is one of their biggest challenges and sacrifices frequently have to be made.
If you are returning to study as an adult, here are 7 tips to help you effectively manage your time.
1. Get your priorities straight
It is important to accept that you cannot do everything at once, or even within the timeframe that you would like. Make a prioritised to-do list so you know which tasks are essential and which can wait.
2. Understand yourself
Figure out when you are most productive and schedule your tasks accordingly. Make sure you tackle high concentration or high priority items when you are most alert.
3. Be flexible
Even the most carefully laid plans sometimes go awry. Particularly for those adult learners who have a family, adopt a flexible mindset so you’re less stressed when your study schedule flies out the window. Always plan for unforeseen obstacles and circumstances.
4. Don’t be afraid to say no
Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day, so if you’ve got an assignment due or a test coming up, it’s okay to say no to commitments outside your studies.
5. Ask for help if you need it
Let your friends and family members know you have returned to study. If they are in the know, they might be able to help out in some way (for example, by picking up children when you have an exam).
6. Make the most of your time
You don’t have to wait for a dedicated two-hour window to open up before you start the next task on the to-do list. Whether it’s sending off a quick email or doing some required reading, it is possible to utilise small windows of time to undertake some tasks.
7. Be realistic about your time
Studying takes up time – lots of it. Be realistic about how much time you need and how long it will take you to complete readings and assignments. Always allocate more time than you think you’ll need, while striking a balance between doing your best and not being a perfectionist.
If you would like to undertake further training or learning near where you live, the Learn Local network can help. Learn Local organisations offer adult learning courses in local communities across Victoria.