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Have you considered distance learning while working full-time? If the answer is yes, then you are a very ambitious person who is eager to learn and willing to advance your education or gain new qualifications. And this is just great because together with mastering your skills most probably you will stumble upon many new opportunities for career development and you will most definitely feel better about yourself as a professional.
But of course, distance learning while working can be challenging since it requires self-discipline, planning and focus. People working full-time usually find it hard to make time for studying or feel overwhelmed with tasks which can make the process of distance learning stressful and bothersome.
No worries, we are here to assure you that where there is a will there’s a way. To avoid discouragement and help you get that new degree you always wanted to add to your list of achievements we are here to help with some advice that will make you motivated, excited and most importantly ready to take on this new academic journey while work-life goes on.
The number one tip for working distance learners is to plan their schedule with every detail and keep it always neat and updated. Make a personalised daily calendar. Depending on your preferences choose a digital planner or a diary where you write down your tasks and make sure you fill it in by time slots - add your working hours, plans, gym or sports classes and note when you are going to do daily tasks like groceries, cooking, washing etc. This will help you make it clear how much and when is the time you are left with for studying. Don’t forget to sit down and include all deadlines, exam sessions and other important dates and moments of your learning program event before it started. An overview of the busy times beforehand will make you more mentally prepared for what is coming.
Always keep your organiser close to you and make sure you can access it quickly to check what is in there! It is not going to help if you put a lot of time preparing it and then try to follow it from memory.
Last but not least, you might want to make a better visual representation of your tasks so make sure you use different colours to highlight work-related, daily life or studying-related activities.
It is important to keep everyone around you updated. Apart from telling your family and friends, inform people at work about your decision to start distance learning. This will communicate to your employer that you are proactive, growth-oriented and ambitious and those are valuable and appreciated qualities in the business world.
Also, it is becoming common for businesses to help and assist employees to continue specialising by doing courses or training so the management might even be willing to give you a period of extra time for your studies if you show dedication and willingness to improve in areas that will, later on, be beneficial for your work abilities.
If you decide to go back to school, you need to press the stop button for some other activities in your life but only temporarily. Going out too often, having too much social life, travelling every weekend and taking on new hobbies might not be the perfect match with distance learning while working. But remember this will not take forever. You will have to change your lifestyle just for a while. Once you achieve your learning goal with a new degree in your hands, you can immediately go back to other fun stuff. There might be times when you wish you could relax more and have some leisure time but remember - learning and working will only be a small period of your adult life and once it is done you will feel great and accomplished, and the experience will be worth it. The degree is one part of the final achievement - just imagine how disciplined, organised and confident with yourself you will become.
We know what we just discussed but do not go to any extremes. It is vital to keep sleeping normal hours, doing physical activities and talking to your friends and family occasionally. This will keep your stress levels low and ensure you stay healthy, positive and happy to keep going.
Remember we all memorize and learn differently so think about the previous times you were a student and ask yourself questions like - do I learn better in the morning or at night and am I a visual learner or I prefer to write down and keep notes to remember, do I have difficulties concentrating? Figuring out these personal preferences and abilities will help you find the right moments to learn. For some, commuting might be a good time to go over the material but others will only get something in their head once they read it out loud in a calm setting. Reflect on your learning attitude and make it work best for you.
Living both the student and working life can be tough and it can put some pressure on your normal routine but taking on personal challenges is what makes us better and motivated to never stop learning. If you are still wondering about distance learning, go for it and thank yourself later for the great outcomes and your inner satisfaction.
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