How to balance studying and working full time (With tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 12 October 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Studying and working full time can be challenging, although it's possible with determination and commitment. Some students can find the extra workload overwhelming and require a strategy to manage their time properly. Knowing how to balance full-time work with studying can help you succeed in your education while undertaking the responsibilities of a job and maintaining a regular income. In this article, we describe how you can manage your time when studying and working, review the benefits of working and studying at the same time and explore how to manage your time effectively using the Eisenhower Matrix.

Related: What is Prioritising?

How to balance studying and working full time

Balancing studying and working full time can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, students can succeed in both their job and their education. Here's a list of steps that you can take if you are interested in learning how to balance full time work and study:

1. Make a plan

Making a plan may seem counterintuitive if you are already short of time, but establishing a work and study schedule can be extremely helpful. This includes checking your study timetable in advance, noting important dates and events in your calendar, such as deadlines or exams, discussing this with your employer and determining the best approach to managing both work and study. You might also be able to access a full overview of your course to review the modules and their respective dates to help you plan.

Related: Guide: what is strategic planning? (With benefits and steps)

2. Create reminders

Once you have identified all the important dates and events and written them in your calendar, you can create a system for reminders. This can help you avoid the stress that comes with an upcoming exam or deadline. You can enter all of your important dates into your phone and set up reminders using a calendar application, or you can use the traditional method of writing dates on a physical calendar and hanging it on your wall. Regardless of the method, it's essential to have reminders so that you can review your responsibilities and manage your time to accommodate them.

3. Allocate time to study and to work

Determining exactly how much time you have and then dividing it between work and study can be an effective way to balance each workload. Be sure to include time for rest and relaxation in your schedule. For example, you can allocate time on weekends to resting and devote weekday evenings to studying.

You can expect to have a level of flexibility with your studies, as students typically have deadlines that are given in advance. This can help you determine your own working schedule and how to manage your time to complete assignments. Try to allocate as much time as possible to your studies to maximise your chances of success, but be sure to schedule time for breaks to help avoid burnout. Having adequate rest can help ensure you are successful in both your job and at school.

Related: Part-time vs full-time: what's the difference?

4. Consider when you are most productive

Consider when you are most productive in your day when you create your schedule. Some people are most productive shortly after they wake up in the morning, while others are more productive during the evening. Assessing when you are most productive can help you when planning your schedule, as you can plan your study time around when you feel most energetic and ready to work. This can help you utilise your time more effectively.

Related: How to stop overthinking and increase productivity at work

5. Designate a study place

Having a dedicated study area that you can go to and focus on your studies is a great way to increase your chances of success. This can help encourage you to focus entirely on your studies by reducing any distractions and disturbances. You could consider designating your local library as your study space, find a suitable area in your house or even discuss with your employer the possibility of you using a spare room to study before and after your shifts to help you become more effective during your study time.

6. Identify potential problems in advance

There may be times when responsibilities related to your studies conflict with your work schedule. Having a plan in place can help you overcome this challenge more effectively. If you know that a study deadline is going to interfere with your work schedule, be sure to speak with your employer as soon as possible and attempt to find a solution. If there's an instance where the responsibilities for your job interfere with school, be sure to speak with your instructor or teacher so they can consider ways to accommodate your needs.

Both your employer and your school have an interest in your success. If you prepare ahead of time and keep both parties informed about your responsibilities, it can increase the chances of finding solutions.

7. Practise self-care

Because you are undertaking a large amount of responsibility by working and studying at the same time, it is important to remember that you are likely to become stressed and tired at certain times. Being self-aware and practising self-care is essential and a good stress reduction routine. By focusing on improving your wellbeing, you can help ensure you are feeling healthy and enthusiastic while balancing your work and studies.

A stress reduction technique you can use is mindfulness meditation. This involves spending a certain amount of time sitting silently and focusing on your breathing. This helps to train the mind to be present and is an effective way to reduce stress, improve calmness and enhance focus. Eating well and getting enough sleep is also crucial in making sure you are feeling your best.

8. Prepare for less social life

Being ready to have less social interaction with your friends and family is a good way to balance your work and studies because it can help prepare you for more time working on your goals while away from familiar people. Many people travel away from their hometown when going to university, so it's normal not to know anyone at first. This is something that typically improves as you form new relationships with colleagues and classmates, but being prepared for an initial reduction in social time can save you from feeling lonely and additionally stressed.

Benefits of full-time work and study

Here's a list of benefits of working full time and studying for you to consider:

  • Reduced debt: Students typically take out a sizeable loan while at university so having a full-time job can help you pay off some of the debt upfront, leaving you with less to pay back after you have obtained your degree.

  • Better standard of living: Having a job means you are earning money, so while other students may only live on the income from their loans or grants, your earnings can help you enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.

  • Enhanced life skills: Managing the responsibility of work and study simultaneously can help you to develop strong life skills, especially those relating to time management and work ethics.

  • Increased work experience: Some students study while working for a company they want to work for after graduation. This can be very beneficial for the student because they gain work experience and increase their qualifications at the same time.

Managing multiple workloads using the Eisenhower Matrix

A time-management system known as the Eisenhower Matrix or the Eisenhower Method can be incredibly useful for helping to ensure you achieve your goals. Using this method means you assess the importance of tasks and organise your priorities accordingly. The method uses four categories to help you prioritise tasks and manage your time:

  • Urgent and important: You can deal with important and urgent tasks immediately. For example, an urgent and important task may be a crisis or deadlines.

  • Non-urgent and important: You can set a deadline for tasks that aren't urgent but important. For example, a task that is important but not urgent may be recreation and family events.

  • Unimportant and urgent: These tasks include unexpected interruptions and activities. When a task is unimportant and urgent, you can set it aside or delegate it.

  • Unimportant and non-urgent: Unimportant and non-urgent tasks are generally disregarded. Examples of these types of tasks include watching television and playing video games.

Related: FTE meaning: how to calculate full-time equivalent

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Related articles

A guide to the Pomodoro technique and how to use it

Explore more articles