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People often take a distance learning course at Open Study College because physically going to a college or centre to study does not suit their lifestyle! Whether you’re juggling study and children or working your full time job whilst learning a new skill, distance learning is ideal.
However, the thought of balancing study with your work and personal life can be overwhelming. Particularly nowadays when modern life is so busy, spare time is rare and precious. The worst thing to do is panic so, we have come up with 9 tips on balancing study with your life to make things a little easier for you!
The most important thing when balancing study and life is organisation. The first thing you should do is make yourself a detailed plan and ensure you are being realistic. By this we mean don’t set yourself unlikely study slots or give yourself too much study time.
Consider the bigger picture first and ask yourself questions. When do I have big plans that cannot change? When are my exams or assignments due? Take a look at your calendar and first mark the dates you definitely will not be able to fit in study. If your course has exams, plan your study schedule around these, with plenty of time for revision beforehand!
Once the important dates are in the calendar, you can then start planning your weekly study schedule. Again be realistic, we know that life gets in the way sometimes. Don’t plan a big study session in an evening when you have been in meetings all day
It’s all good and well making a plan, but actually sticking to it is the hard part. Self-discipline is a vital skill to have and develop whilst studying an online or distance learning course. It is a very useful one though and will stand out to future employers!
Obviously, things like family emergencies and social events crop up and you should give yourself a little flexibility within your schedule. However, if you have missed too many planned study sessions it can snowball into a massive work pile up, so make sure that if you do miss one, you are able to replace it with a session before or after.
It’s great when you have a study session planned and you sit down with your course in front of you ready to crack on, but actually being productive is important. Get rid of anything that could be a possible distraction. That means put your phone away, turn the tv off and find yourself a quiet spot where no one can disturb you.
If you are studying online with us, block any sites that could cause a distraction like social media. Sites like the stayfocused extension on Chrome browser can block sites for you with a time limit which is perfect for study.
Stay disciplined. It’s no good putting your phone away in a drawer and then opening it to look on it ten minutes later. Remove the distraction and keep it away!
Often, being in a relaxed environment like your living room or bedroom can lead to unproductivity. This is to do with the way our brain thinks. Our brains immediately associate the bedroom with relaxation and sleep. So it’s important to keep these spaces separate.
Why not try a separate environment from your home? Set yourself a couple of hours study time in your favourite coffee shop or pop down to the local library for a while. Getting out the house and in another environment can really benefit your study.
Of course this can’t always be possible, particularly if you have young ones to care for. In this case, try and work in a separate room such as the dining room or office space to ensure you can stay focused.
In life it’s hard to stay motivated. You need to find the source of your motivation and keep reminding yourself of it. So whether it’s that promotion you are after, a completely different career change or a new skill you’ve been desperate to learn, keep this reminder in your head whilst you are studying.
Sometimes, people in life can motivate us too! Keep those that motivate you close to keep you on track with your course.
It’s important to keep those closest to you in the loop with your study schedule. Let your family, partner or friends know when you have planned to study and inform them when your assignments or exams are due.
This helps with your study schedule so if you have a study session planned, your partner or friends will know not to tempt you with a social event on that day – so you can stick to your important study plan!
It’s very hard in life to give yourself a little bit of time for you! And no, we don’t mean study during this time. Your health, both mental and physical are extremely important and need to take priority, so you need to take time out for yourself! Don’t overdo it!
When you make your plan, ensure there is time for you to unwind and relax. It’s no good working until 6pm, getting home and studying until you go to sleep. ‘You’ time is important so slot in time for that as well! Even if it’s just a nice, relaxing bath with candles and bubble bath for half an hour – this can make the world of difference.
Spending time with the family is also important. There's nothing worse than trying to juggle a career, study and family life and struggling with it all massively. Again, build in time to spend with your family. Whether that's making time for your partner, kids or parents - ensure you can fit this in as well! A family day is something you may need after studying hard.
The most important person to look out for is yourself! Don't put too much pressure on yourself, remember that our courses are flexible and if you need to extend the duration of your course, let us know and an extension can be made!
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