There is a sense of excitement when you sign up for any course. As you look forward to a new certification, and want to immerse yourself in a learning environment, the demands of work will give you a reality check. The biggest challenge of distance learning is maintaining focus on studies while having a full-time job.
Here are some ways to balance professional priorities and academic aspirations.
1. Scheduling and Time-Management
Time management is the key to maintaining a work-study balance. At the beginning of the new course, set up a realistic timetable for your study-time during the week. Understand that the initial enthusiasm to study every day wanes over time, so the study-time shouldn’t comprise long hours. Instead, stick to short periods with no distractions.
Be flexible about changing the schedule since there’ll be other priorities, but always respect the study routine like you would your work routine.
2. Preventing Burnout
Completing a distance learning course requires your dedication for a sustained amount of time, in scheduled periods of studying and research. Do not take on more courses than you can realistically manage. Be open to taking time off from studies once in a while. A long day at the office should sometimes be backed up with a relaxing activity rather than a session with the academic books that may burn you out. This way, you feel refreshed and will concentrate better.
Distance learning courses allow flexibility in timings. Take advantage of this so you can fulfill your professional priorities without the stress of an academic deadline at the back of your mind.
3. Understanding Your Methods
Distance learning will give you the freedom to design your own methods of studying. Spend some time introspecting and deciding whether you retain more information via documents and videos or prefer slides, infographics or other platforms. It’s best to quickly identify which method suits you, and optimize your output accordingly.
Choose a methodology that is different from what you see at work all day. Some alteration from what you’re used to will keep monotony at bay, thus helping you concentrate better.
4. Managing Other Activities
Do not become a reclusive hermit because of your new course, but do understand that your routine will have to change. A half-hour less on social media and a few minutes shaved off your office water-cooler discussions means you automatically create more time for your two top priorities – work and study.
Create schedules around your friends and social circles and ensure that everyone understands your need for time. You should be able to balance your work and the recent academic commitments.
5. Finding the Right Course
If you pursue a course that you are genuinely interested in, you’ll be able to fit it in more comfortably with your present routine. Distance learning can involve a subject that you may have regretted not taking up in the past, or it could be something that’ll add more to your existing industry skills.
A passion nurtured around the subject that you take up will help you through those tired days when picking up the book or opening that PDF might feel like lifting the hammer of Thor.