Lots of students choose to take up part-time work alongside their studies. This can be a great way to support yourself financially. However, it can be tricky to know how to balance working with your studies – especially when you’re not sure where to start. In this guide, we share our top tips on how to balance both commitments.
Choose the right job
As useful as it is to have a bit more money coming in every month, important as it is to ensure you are financially secure, it’s also important to focus on your studies. You could look for a role which fits around classes, assignments, and preparation for exams. This can depend on the type of role, but many part-time jobs allow you to choose shift patterns which makes it easier for you to maintain this balance,
Be honest with your employer about the amount of time you can dedicate to work from the start. Not only does this help you to manage expectations when it comes to your job, but it can also help build a positive, honest relationship with your employer too.
A great way to manage your workload is to plan ahead as much as possible. Although it can be hard to do this, anticipating busy periods at work, or at school, can help you manage your work and time more efficiently. Try to find out your school timetable and commitments as soon as possible into the school year. Also, try to talk to your boss and team during trickier times - such as the holiday seasons – so you can be aware and figure out how to work around these times.
It’s also important to give yourself a structured work pattern to help get into a routine. Planning ahead helps you figure out what times of the day you are most productive, so you can schedule in your biggest priorities during this time.
Create a realistic timetable
Managing your time well is key to ensuring a great balance between your studies and work. At school or university, there are lots of different things that may require your time. From schoolwork, to socialising, to involvement in student societies – it can get overwhelming very quickly. Creating a realistic timetable, where you consider these commitments in advance and allocate time to them, can help you manage your time more effectively.
- Write down all your commitments: Make a note of all your commitments, no matter how small they are. These could be lectures, assignments, or activities for societies you are a part of.
- Prioritise the most important: Which of your commitments are the most important to you? You could potentially put them in order of your revision time, your part-time job, then your free time to socialise with friends.
- Allocate enough time to each one: Be realistic and allocate enough time for each of your commitments, according to the priorities you have identified.
- Keep your timetable where you can see it: Whether you prefer to have your timetable on your bedroom wall or a copy of it on your phone, make sure you keep it handy and easily accessible.
Ask for help when you need it
It’s always important to remember that you are not alone. Juggling multiple commitments and tasks at the same time can sometimes become overwhelming, and it’s important to know who you can turn to during times of need. Depending on your type of work, you can inform your employer that you need to decrease some of your shift work when the pressure of schoolwork increases. You can also speak to staff members at your school if you feel that you are struggling to maintain a balance between school and work. They’ll be able to either offer support directly or refer you to someone else who will help you find the support that you need.
Prioritise your health and well-being
Above all, make sure that you prioritise your health and well-being. It’s pretty tempting to focus on making all of your commitments work, whilst forgetting to check in on yourself, and ensuring you are happy and healthy. Finding time throughout the week to relax, unwind, and take care of your mental and physical welfare is important. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and healthy, nutritious meals to help you perform at your best at school and at work.