How to Maintain Classwork/Work Balance
We know that many, if not most, of our Concorde students, are adults working in health care training programs while also holding down full-time jobs. The effort and time required to do both can present challenges even in the best of circumstances. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes.
There are ways to combat those challenges and make your busy schedule more manageable. We always want our students to be successful at Concorde. So we asked a couple of our campus directors of student affairs for their advice on how to best balance work and schoolwork.
Here's what they had to say.
3 key points on creating balance
When advising a student on balancing classwork in health care training programs and work, Zane Wilson, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde's campus in Portland, Ore., had three key points.
- Plan out the schedule. It's critical to plan out things with the "old pen and paper" or electronic version of a calendar that provides hour by hour options, Wilson said. "The goal is to see the details and the commitment needed to be successful in both the role of an employee and student. Planning plays a key role in changing our habits and mindset."
- Communicate the schedule. Students should not underestimate the importance of communicating with both the employer and the school. The student should be transparent with schedule needs on both ends to avoid conflicts. Setting clear boundaries upfront will help the student's manager/supervisor with planning for business purposes. It also gives the student more time to get to work without rushing. Finally, it makes the student accountable for sticking to that schedule.
- Stick to the schedule. Balancing work and school already is challenging, but if you break the schedule of success, there is not much to expect but a turbulent path. You'll be tested time and again with distractions. But, the school and work schedule is a short-term sacrifice for a long-term reward of employment. Stick to the schedule, and you will see the results.
Tips on balancing health care training and work
Lori Liebman, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde's campus in Garden Grove, Calif., had a few tips of her own to add to the list.
- Prioritize! Take care of items in order of their due date. If multiple things are due on the same day, do the easy items first. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and success.
- Enlist the support of friends and family so they can contribute to your success. Share your schedule with them and don't be afraid to ask for help so you can study.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if things don't work out perfectly. It's only temporary.
That last piece of advice might be the most important. You're not alone. Working through health care training programs while holding down full-time jobs is difficult for everyone.
Developing Time Management Skills
You've heard the old adage... there are never enough hours in the day. In today's hustling and bustling world, it's easy to oftentimes become overwhelmed in feeling you simply have too much to do in too little a time. That certainly can be the case when pursuing a health care education.
You don't want to feel overwhelmed while pursuing a health care education. Attaining a health care education is a lot of hard work, but it can be a manageable workload if handled properly and time is used wisely.
We went to some experts for some tips on time management and developing good time management skills. These skills can make a big difference in attaining that health care education comfortably or weathering the storm of feeling overwhelmed all the time.
Try these out. They just might work.
Time Management for Health Care Education
Stacie Williams, Director of Student Affairs at Concordes campus in San Antonio, listed the following tips for developing time management skills.
- Set your goal. What do you want to accomplish?
- Determine your primary goals and start with those.
- Keep a calendar to plan out small steps to achieving your goal.
- Execute these small steps. Try not to fall behind.
- Delegate when necessary.
6 Tips to Improve Time Management
The website, Psychcentral.com, listed six tips that will help you maintain good time management skills and help reduce stress from your daily life.
- Make a list. The thing about making lists is you actually have to use them. However, make sure your lists are attainable.
- Set deadlines. Most importantly, try your best to stick to them. Set your deadline a few days before the task absolutely has to be done. This allows for the possibility that something will get in the way, but will allow you to get the task done.
- Stop multi-tasking. Our minds work better when we are truly able to focus and concentrate on one thing.
- Delegate responsibilities. No matter how good we are, we can't do everything. Delegation is not a sign of weakness, but of intelligence. Find competent, reliable people and share some of the responsibilities.
- Use your downtime. This requires some balance. Using all downtime for planning and prioritizing is bad and can lead to increased stress and burnout. If you have opportunities to get things done, use them, but also remember to save time for relaxation.
- Reward yourself. When you accomplish something, celebrate it!
A Few More Tips
The publication Essentials of Business listed some simple shifts in thinking that can help you get a handle on your time and use it more productively.
- Organize your to-do list. Get your to-dos on paper. Organize them by type. Then, schedule it and commit to using time on a specific day to complete the task.
- Attack one type of action at a time. Flitting from making phone calls to writing proposals, to answering emails is less than productive. Try completing one type of tasks before starting on another.
- Eliminate distractions. This sounds simple enough, but eliminating all interruptions is nearly impossible. But block out time each day where you're not to be disturbed. Schedule a short block of time for social networks ... and, stay off them otherwise.
- Plan for - and take - breaks. It is important to relax during the day. You'll actually recharge and be more productive when you return.
- Communicate. Don't forget to check in with others. Get in the habit of asking yourself if whatever you're doing is the best use of your time. If not, shift to something else.
Set Yourself Up for Success
If you take the time and effort to develop a good working schedule, put together a solid support system and, most of all, give yourself a break you'll find that success is easier to obtain then you once thought.