Five study tips for busy lives

4:19pm Tuesday 1st June 2010

Do you want to gain a new qualification but wonder where on earth you’d find the time?

There is no doubt that studying as an adult can be challenging, particularly if you already have a job, family and social life. Having said that, many people find learning in later life far more enjoyable than they may have expected – largely because they can choose subjects in which they have a genuine interest.

Choosing a course that’s related to your existing or desired job can also have a positive effect on your career prospects, which makes all the hard work worthwhile.

If you’re still unsure about your ability to fit further study into your life then the tips below outline ways to maximise your valuable time and get the most out of your learning experience.

1) Enlist the help of family and friends Talk to your partner, family and friends before embarking on a new course and make sure they understand why this is so important. That way, they will understand that you may not always have quite as much time for them as you would like.

2) Maximise your time Most of us have periods throughout the day where we could be more productive. For example, if you travel to work by public transport then this is an ideal time to catch up on background reading. Another suggestion is to set aside one or two lunchtimes per week for studying.

3) Play to your strengths People’s learning styles vary dramatically, so what works for someone else may not work for you. For example, you may be the kind of person who is more alert in the morning, in which case it makes sense to maximise that time. Set aside one morning of the weekend for studying, or you could even get up an hour earlier before work once or twice a week. Similarly, if you learn better later in the day then base your study timetable around that.

4) Create a dedicated space for studying If possible, it helps to have an area that is dedicated to studying, whether that means converting a spare room into a temporary study or tucking a desk into the corner of the living room. If you prefer to leave the house then you could try a quiet local cafe or your public library. Creating this distinction between study time and the rest of your day will help to engage your brain and get you in the mood for learning.

5) Find a study buddy Setting goals with fellow students can be a great way of overcoming hurdles and boosting your own motivation. Making new friends is often an added bonus to adult learning, and technological developments mean it is now possible for people on distance learning courses to develop such relationships via the internet.

Conclusion Often the hardest thing about combining work with study is making the decision to do it in the first place. Once you get started you will probably find that it’s not as difficult as you’d imagined. Choosing a course that allows you to study via distance learning can also be helpful as you can work at your own pace without being tied in to specific timescales. That way, if you find that you’re unable to study one week then you can simply pick up where you left off when you have more time.

To learn more about how Home Learning College could help boost your career visit our training courses pages.

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