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Balancing work and online classes

I am completing a bachelor’s in healthcare administration online as well as working full time during the day. How many online classes are reasonable to take while working full time? #july20 #time-management #work-life-balance

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John’s Answer

Emily there is no denying that balancing work and college is hard. You need to be productive at work while still having the mental energy to go to class, study, prepare for exams, and write papers. However, taking online classes can make time management easier.

The most important thing you can do to balance online classes with your full-time job is to communicate—with your employer, with your friends, with your support network, and with yourself. First, talk to your employer. Tell them that you are enrolling in an online degree program and may need to take off or work odd hours from time-to-time for exams or studying. Many workplaces are surprisingly flexible. They may even appreciate that you’re taking the time to earn your next degree. After all, it makes you a more valuable employee in the long run. You should also communicate with your friends and support network. Let them know what you are doing, that you may be too busy to spend time with them sometimes, and that you may need extra support. They will be happy to help you out and will be understanding of your high stress and limited availability.

Create a weekly calendar. Before signing up for classes, take a hard look at your current schedule. Map out an entire week, fleshing out each day with the events and tasks you're currently responsible for. Include work schedules, meal times, sorority activities and personal activities. Create a reasonable course schedule. After accounting for your current responsibilities, you should have a good idea of how much to take on at school. When registering for classes, build a course load that fits your lifestyle. Create a flexible schedule that allows you to handle the unexpected, or take online courses that don't require a commute to campus. Keep in mind you'll need extra time for study and homework. Set expectations. No matter how well you plan, there may be times when school has to take precedence over your home or work life. Discuss this issue with family members and colleagues, and let them know how they can help you be successful.

At the beginning of each semester, your professors will send out a syllabus with important exam dates and deadlines. Read it the very day they send it out, then mark up your calendar! Write down the dates and set reminders for when you should start studying. Then make sure this schedule fits around your work responsibilities and deadlines. Making a schedule and forcing yourself to stick to it is key. This will require self-discipline, but if you can stick to a timetable, you’ll find yourself less stressed out in the long run and more prepared for unexpected roadblocks along the way. Continue updating your weekly calendar with upcoming assignments and important dates. Organization, hard work and attention to detail will all help you perform your best. What's more, these habits might even allow you to complete schoolwork in advance of deadlines.

Balancing work and online classes can be hectic. In the middle of a busy semester, it’s easy to find yourself stressing about your exam while you’re at work or thinking about work while you are supposed to be studying. Or worse, scrolling through Facebook when you’re supposed to be watching your lecture. Finding balance will be easier if you make the effort to be present. When you take time to study, really sit down and focus on studying. Don’t think about work and don’t look at social media. The same thing goes for work—don’t think about your classes when you are at work. Your work performance will be better if you stay present and focused on the task at hand. Stay present, stay focused, and the balance will become easier.

Working hard at your classes and your job is important, but so is taking care of yourself. Nobody can operate at 100% all of the time. In order to have the energy you need to balance your work and your studies, you need to take some time to relax. Pencil in rest days into your schedule. Make time for yourself. Be strict with yourself about actually taking time to relax, spend time with friends and family, or participate in a yoga class. Be present while you are relaxing, so that you can head back to work and to your studies recharged.

Hope this was Helpful Emily

Thank You Morgan. “If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan John Frick

Thank you for your well thought out advice! I love planning on my calendar, and I will be sure to make use of your words of wisdom! Emily S.

Your Welcome Emily, It was my Pleasure. To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. John Frick

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Josh’s Answer

I found that I have balanced my time best by prioritizing course work that is less time consuming first. This way you can get the smaller tasks completed first to help you with possible projects in the future for your courses. I also recommend using a calendar to break your assignments down into smaller tasks for after work each day. This way you are still able to have free time especially on your days off. I also recommend contacting one of your class mates in the beginning of each course, this way you have someone to reach out to with questions in addition to the professor. I have done this for each of my online courses and I have found this partnership to be beneficial for both of us. Good luck in your courses!

Thank you for your response! Emily S.

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Nika’s Answer

As with everything, your mileage may vary. With me personally, I was balancing a semi-demanding internship (~50-55 hour weeks) with 3 online classes (9 credits) and felt like I had very little to no free time. The most difficult part isn't the time commitment, but rather the mental drain that comes with it. Having a constant cycle of work from 9-7 PM and then classes / homework / essays / exam prep until ~10-11 PM will make you burnt out VERY quickly. As others have said on this chain, communication is key. Communicate with your manager / employer AND your teacher about the extenuating circumstances, and come up with a compromise (i.e. work will be a bit lighter during exam periods, etc.).

Thank you for sharing your experiences! Emily S.

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Krasti’s Answer

Hi Emily,
The number of courses to take in order to maintain a work-life balance really depends on the courses you are planning to take and the level of quality learning you are willing to commit. For instance, if you are taking multiple introductory classes, those classes might be less time consuming than taking the more advanced specialized classes. At the same time, someone can take 5 online classes but only focus a few hours for each class. While someone who is only taking 2 classes can give more focused attention on learning the coursework. When you take too many classes, you are likely to spread yourself thinly across all the classes and work (which could influence your quality of work). In other words, I don't think there is a # of classes that would work for everybody, but just be mindful on what your intent for working and taking online classes is. Set real expectations on how much time you will be able to set aside to study and work, while still having personal time. You need to ensure you set aside some personal time for you to relax, otherwise you can easily get burned out and your work/grades could suffer as a result. Good luck!

Thank you for taking the time to respond! There is certainly a lot to consider. Emily S.

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Samantha’s Answer

You have to be organized! I had everything written down in my planner, what time I worked and when things were done for school. As long as you can stay organized and disciplined on actually doing your assignments you are going to succeed!!

Best of luck!