I get asked this question on a regular basis. I constantly get comments about how people do not know how I can manage my time to do both full-time. Honestly, I do not even know how I do it sometimes. All I can say is it is a lot of work and can get EXTREMELY stressful. However, a little bit of time management, organization, uber eats orders and some crying sessions can get you through it all to be a survivor.
In the beginning, I struggled and it is absolutely okay if you need to extend your courses for your own mental well-being. I chose to just extend my one semester to give me an extra 2 months with the courses so I can complete them in a better head space. Best decision I ever made. Only recommend extending semesters if you feel like it is actually taking a toll mentally and you will not be able to do your best. It really is a heaven sent option. Oh PS. my courses are all online so I have the flexibility of timing for the course.
Online Courses – the good, the bad, the ugly
Online courses can be great because you can do them from anywhere you are, complete assignments at your own pace and not have to worry about physically being anywhere at a specific time. These courses are definitely tailored to the working individual who does not have time. It is great. HOWEVER!!! It requires MAJOR time management and organizational skills. It really makes it even more difficult to complete these courses when they are online. Everyone thinks online courses are great until they are in a full-time course load of them. It is NOT a good time all the time.
You are required to structure your days where you do make time for each of your courses so you get everything complete. That is the difficult part. My day involves waking up at 7am for work at 8:30am until 5:30pm. I leave work and am obviously exhausted and the last thing I ever want to do is study. All I want is some sleep and food normally. However, I push through and make sure I get everything I need completed.
So what is the magic trick?
There is no magic trick that is one size fits all. But for me, it was enforcing a structure to my day and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I have a schedule every single day that I do not try to break ever, and I feel at ease when I am on track to complete my day as I want it to be. This is how I manage my time to complete everything and it may sound crazy or hard, but honestly you get used to whatever schedule you train yourself on so this is mine.
7am: Wake up alarm!
7:30am: Actually get out of bed (I know, I am terrible at waking up)
8:30am: Work and full focus on just work
12pm: Lunch time! I sometimes complete little things for school during this time but I do not like to do anything intensive for my courses during this time. So I try to make sure until my work day is over my attention is on my job.
5:30pm: Done work!! Woohooo!!! I try to not stay later as much as I would love to over achieve in my job, I also have to make sure I do not burn out.
6pm: GYM! This might sound crazy but I HAVE to maintain working out every single day. I know that is one thing for me to put my attention on but it also makes me feel good and de-stresses me. This is also a good time for me to remove work from my brain and start at a clear, fresh state of mind.
7pm: Dinner time! I try to keep it healthy and quick…I meal prep to help save my life for this one and I always drink my smoothie during this time for protein and extra energy post-gym! PS. I put 2 raw eggs in my smoothie. Don’t knock it till you try it! (Preferably with chocolate protein)
7:30pm-10pm: This is the designated STUDY, do assignments, do everything you can during this time! Some days I move slower during this and may not get as much done. But I make sure this time slot every single day I am at least completing a reading or an assignment or a quiz. Something needs to be complete for me to be satisfied!
10pm-sleep: This is my downtime for my Netflix binge watching, winding down to sleep like a rock…I get terrible sleep which is the only thing I have yet to master for my schedule or keep consistent. I have a terrible habit of getting way too little sleep! But hey, at this point…I’ll sacrifice the sleep for my time with Netflix until I complete my program in school!
The key take away from all this…
Basically, what I am saying is you need to find your schedule. Find your own structure to your day and just stick to it. Sacrifice sleep if you have to. I know it sucks but school is temporary and you might as well suffer when it comes to sleep so you can maintain a work-life balance. The impressive part about my routine: I somehow maintain a social life! I try to torture myself on my days with no social events by completing a lot of work so I can still maintain and hold my friendships!!
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