Although online classes provide a much more flexible educational experience for working professionals like myself, balancing online classes and a full-time work schedule is not an easy task. Addition to my job responsibility there is family obligations, which are equally important, I am married with two children and work full time six days a week. One of the many challenges you may face is how to balance your time with your work, family and friends while you are taking your Penn Foster online course.
Since time is valuable, keeping a balance between your study and work or family is a challenge. How would you fit your role as a family man and a work professional into your hectic schedule? Always plan ahead. First, the most important thing is to use your time wisely. Figure out how you typically spend your day. Make a list of time commitments that cannot be changed. Then, figure out how you spend your unscheduled time. It is important to include all the shifts and upcoming assignments and exams in the schedule. I use Microsoft Outlook calendar for time planning.
It is user friendly and a convenient tool for time management. Accurate scheduling helps me to manage time efficiently whereby freeing up time to spend with my family. The first step to achieving balance in your time is to get your family to agree on what the priorities should be. Make them understand that studying often requires long hours. In these instances, support from your family has to be there. Additionally, when children are involved; you may have to re-balance your time so you have time to spend with children.
Plan on having a little family time every day and schedule some special family event once a week. For example I take my children to the park on every Friday or if the weather is bad I play their favourite game with them. It is also a good idea to involve your family in your study for instance I ask my wife to quiz on the course material. In addition to the family responsibilities there is the work obligation, which is equally important. Balancing your job and study may take time.
Since you will be studying on your own pace, you should not feel discouraged if you miss a day or two of course studies. However, making a study schedule will help you to manage your work and study time accurately. Write down work and study obligations and see the schedule where you can set aside time for study. Make sure to follow the schedule accordingly to avoid waste of time; your time is more valuable now than ever before. Let your boss or employer know that you are taking an online course.
Some employers may give you more flexible hours to study or allow you to take more time off to meet your study obligations. It is important to be honest with your employer. Don’t commit yourself to hours that you cannot work. This will help your employer to organise their work rota keeping in mind you have other obligations. Try to adjust your work schedule if possible. For instance coming to office early to compensate any lost work time due to study obligation. I usually take a long lunch break and study for one hour during the break and work one hour longer in the afternoon.
If your study can help your current job there is a good chance that your employer may be flexible in rearranging you work schedule as needed to take exams or to complete course assignments. No matter if you are in a full time job or the family demands too much of your time it is important to manage your time wisely. Properly scheduling your time is essential, as it would show a clear picture of your time management, which would also remind you that you are moving closer to your main goal in completing the course. Don’t forget to relax and always allow time for leisure activities.