When you first get a job, that regular paycheck is a life-changer. Having a regular source of income can make it all too easy to stop thinking about your future. The whole concept of career development can be dismissed in favor of that reliable paycheck, and that can be fine for the short-term. For your long-term career prospects, it’s vital that you never stop learning and growing. At some point, that low-paying job is going to limit your potential, and you’ll wonder how you put up with it for so long. That’s why so many full-time workers are enrolling in online education. This is not an easy option and will require some dedication and prioritizing of your daily activities. If you’re about to sign up for an online degree or you’re struggling to cope with an online workload alongside your full-time job, here are some essential tips.

Tip 1: Make a Plan

This probably seems like it’s going to be a way of procrastinating, but you will be surprised by how effective a plan can be when it comes to organizing your life. When you’re juggling a full-time job and online study, time is going to be your major barrier to success. Make a calendar of your deadlines and exam dates, as well as organizing your weekly timetable. The more that you plan your studying, the easier it will be to organize yourself at work too. Make sure that your plan is visible. Whether it’s an open tab on your laptop, a phone reminder, or even a traditional paper calendar on the wall, the more present that schedule is in your life, the easier it will be to stick to.

Tip 2: Tell Your Employers

Don’t assume that your employer is going to be angry that you’re trying to better yourself. You might be surprised by how positive managers can be when they find out that a member of their team is trying to improve their qualifications. If your area of study is related to your current job, then you might even get financial help or more control over your shifts. That’s because you will be adding value to whatever company it is that you work for. Talk to your employer, and they may be more amenable to shift changes and time off than you might have thought.

Tip 3: Take a Break

If you’re working full-time and then hitting the books as soon as you get home, then you’re not giving your mind the space it needs. Of course, when deadlines are approaching, or you have a grueling double-shift in the morning, the whole idea of taking a break might seem impossible. It’s vital that you give yourself the time to refresh and refocus, or your work output will suffer, and your ability to revise will be drastically reduced. Turn off your devices, run a bath, or just go for a stroll for thirty minutes. You might be surprised how much a break can re-energize you.

Tip 4: Split Your Reading

No matter what you are studying, make sure that you have a weekly reading schedule. Look at the texts that you have had to buy for your course. Go through them and identify the relevant chapters, and make a note. Then, bundle relevant areas of study together and commit to reading a set amount of pages every day. That will depend on the difficulty of your texts! Someone studying an online Civil Engineering degree will require a different level of reading than someone doing Theatre Studies. Your reading will be more effective if you’re not trying to rush every book from front to back.

Tip 5: Understand Your Brain

Everybody learns differently, and you need to work out the ways that suit you. Factor in the time of day. Some people will get more studying done first thing in the morning before they head out of the house to go to work. Others will find that they soak up knowledge far more easily when they are relaxing at the end of the day with their dinner on their lap. Remember to split your studying into manageable chunks, as this can give you that sense of accomplishment that can keep your mental health positive. 

Tip 6: Choose a Spot

Just like the time of day, you might find that you get more into your studying in different locations. Of course, finding the right place to study can be challenging when you spend more time at work than you do reading textbooks. This is why getting your employer on your side can be so beneficial. They may designate a spare room for you to use in your break periods, or they might even let you take a longer lunch when your deadlines are getting closer. Rather than heading home at the end of every day, consider shaking up your study spots. You could try:

Environment is a major factor when it comes to our ability to study, so make sure that your study space is perfectly suited to your learning needs.

Tip 7: Learn to Sacrifice

When you’re balancing a full-time job and an online degree in any subject, you’re going to be giving up some of your leisure time. Sacrifice is going to be one of the clear necessities if you want a greater chance of successfully completing your online education. Those sacrifices can take a variety of forms. They could be personal sacrifices, like not being able to watch the latest episode of your favorite TV show. Although they could be more impactful and might mean that you have to sacrifice valuable time with your family and friends. Assess what you absolutely can’t lose out on, and balance your schedule accordingly.

Studying online is more popular than ever. Being able to plan your schedule and carry on with your employment are the main reason for this. It can be hard to balance a full-time job with your online studies, but the more that you plan, prepare, and commit, the easier it will be to make those improvements to your life that will result in higher earnings and more attractive prospects for the future of your career goals.