Studying when you are no longer in full education can be tricky as there are always things that need to be done. The general life admin to working to enjoying yourself.
I’m studying to be a health coach on a year long program. Fostering the habit of setting aside 8 hours a week has been an interesting one. Even though it doesn’t sound like a lot of time it’s been important to stay on top the weekly hours so that I don’t fall behind. Falling behind would mean a marathon catch up and probably feeling overwhelmed which in itself wouldn’t help the catch up.
Creating a schedule – Making a schedule that has regular time slots with some flexibility for those unexpected tasks is really important. Treat the scheduled sessions as you would a client or a work related commitment. It will build discipline to set time aside each week to study and learn.
Setting small targets – Have a full list of classes, due dates for tests, submissions and anything else that is given in the course outline. Add these to your calendar and project management app like Asana. Review the tasks and break them down further to sub tasks with dates that you would need to do them by. Breaking down big tasks makes them less overwhelming and easier to manage. It’s easier to then plan the rest of your schedule around your studies. I find this helps to keep deadlines in your minds eye.
Monitoring time – Keeping track of time spent through the day is a good way to help prioritse your time. It is easy to have an hour or two disappear with social media and Netflix. Using an app to track time is the best way of doing this. There are a few options – using the timer on your phone, or a pomodoro timer. I know for my studies I need to set aside about 8 hours a week. Tracking the time helps to keep my focus.
Rewards – Having mini rewards as you achieve tasks is excellent for motivation. A reward for completing study time and tasks can range from time to go for a walk, watching an episode of your favourite show on Netflix, a little cake or catch up with a friend. It can be anything that appeals to you.
Work space – A conducive work space is important. Having a certain location with limited distractions is important. It should be a place where you have everything that you need to complete your studies with ease such as power supply for laptop, all the necessary books/texts, water to keep hydrated, mobile phone on mute, a desk with good light. It has to be a space that works for you.