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School-work balance: 16 tips for students to maximise productivity 

Balancing school and work can be tough and may appear to place you in some kind of dilemma, but it is not impossible.
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The future of work is fast changing the dynamics of higher education, shifting from certificate to skill-based industry. As such, students seek to complement classroom learning and activities with industrial work experience, through mandatory internships, apprenticeships, part-time and full-time jobs in their most preferred fields, which at times differ from their course of study.

Students are often faced with the challenge of balancing school with professional work experience. On one hand, you need to complete assignments and study for exams, on the other, you need to gain practical experience to be industry-ready after school. Balancing these two can be tough and may appear to place you in some kind of dilemma, but it is not impossible.

Speaking to both current and past students of higher education who at some point have had to juggle school with work, Edugist has collated 16 tips for students to maximise productivity and achieve school-work balance.

  1. Take fewer classes if possible: If you’re able to take fewer classes while you’re working as a student, it will make your life a lot easier. Talk to your academic advisor about dropping a lesson or two temporarily. This will give you more time to focus on your work tasks and less time worrying about schoolwork.
  2. Communicate effectively with your work supervisor/academic advisor: Regular and effective communication with both your work supervisor and academic advisor to ensure that you are meeting expectations helps a great deal. It also helps to address any concerns or issues which will help you stay on track with tasks and avoid any surprises. 
  3. Plan ahead: The first tip for achieving school-work balance is to plan ahead. You need to plan your schedule and create a calendar that includes all your coursework and work schedules. This way, you will know what you need to do and when you need to do it.
  4. Be organised: Being organised is key to managing your time effectively. Keep your notes, textbooks and assignments in order so that you can easily access them when needed. Use a planner or a to-do list app to help you stay on track with tasks.
  5. Set realistic goals: Set realistic goals for yourself. Be honest with yourself about how much time you have to devote to each task, and plan accordingly.
  6. Prioritise your tasks: Identify the most important tasks, whether from school or work, and prioritise them. Focus on completing these tasks first, and then move on to less important tasks.
  7. Manage your time: Time management is crucial when balancing school with work. Make a schedule that allows you to allocate time for both activities and stick to it. Avoid procrastination and use your time wisely.
  8. Be proactive: Take the initiative to learn as much as possible during your school-work life. Ask questions, seek feedback and be open to new experiences. This will not only help you gain valuable skills but also show your dedication and commitment to your education and work.
  9. Stay motivated: Maintaining motivation is crucial when balancing school with work. Keep reminding yourself of the benefits of gaining practical experience and how it will help you in your future career.
  10. Take breaks: Taking breaks is important to avoid burnout. Allow yourself time to rest and recharge from work so that you can be productive when you return to your school tasks.
  11. Seek support: If you feel overwhelmed, seek support from peers, academics or supervisor. They can provide you with guidance and advice to help you manage your workload and stay on track.
  12. Stay focused: When working on school or work tasks, avoid distractions such as social media or other non-work-related activities. Stay focused on the task at hand to ensure that you complete it efficiently and effectively.
  13. Stay healthy: Staying healthy is important. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to maintain your physical and mental health.
  14. Be flexible: Be prepared to adjust your schedule and plans if unexpected issues arise. Being flexible will help you adapt to changes and maintain your productivity.
  15. Stay positive: Maintain a positive attitude towards your work and school, even when they both get challenging. Focus on the opportunities and experiences that come with both activities and stay motivated to achieve your long-term goals.
  16. Celebrate your achievements: When you complete a coursework assignment or achieve a milestone in your work, take the time to celebrate your achievements. This will help you stay ecstatic and energetic, and keep you closer towards achieving your school-work goals.

Attaining school-work balance can be challenging, but with these tips, you can manage your workload effectively and gain valuable industry experience which makes you industry-ready before graduating from your higher education programme.

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