Juggling your family and your studies

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Between work responsibilities, having kids, looking after the house, pursuing hobbies and interests such as part-time study, and looking after yourself – you may be left wondering how on earth you can fit everything in.

The truth is, it is nearly impossible to do everything yourself, and the last thing you want to do is burn yourself out by trying to be ’Super Mum’. That being said, you shouldn’t have to forgo hobbies you love, or the opportunity to better yourself through extra study. The key to productivity is effective time management and prioritising your goals. With the right strategies under your belt, you could save yourself a whole lot of time.

Identify Your Goals

The most important aspect of time management is identifying what you want to achieve and defining your goals. Setting goals will provide you with a long-term vision, whilst also giving you motivation for the short-term.

Your goals should be broken up into yearly, monthly, and daily targets, in order to be realistic and achievable. This makes it easier for you to know exactly what you are meant to be doing with your time and resources on any given day, whilst breaking those bigger goals down into manageable chunks.

Just as it is important to identify what you want to achieve, it’s also important not to put too much pressure on yourself if you fall short of your targets – you’re only human! If you find that the goals you have set yourself become too difficult to reach, perhaps it’s time to re-think your strategy and adjust accordingly.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Once you have your goals outlined, it’s time to start planning! This involves working out when you can find the time in your busy schedule to work on reaching your objectives.

If you are trying to work on projects outside of your work or home life, it’s a good idea to make yourself a timetable to work around – could you fit in a few hours of work or study in the morning, before the kids wake up? Perhaps you are a night owl, and studying after everyone has gone to bed is more your thing.

If you have decided to go back to Uni and are trying to fit extra study into your life, take advantage of handy tools such as Monash’s online study planner, which generates weekly schedules based on your personal, work, and study commitments

Take Control of Your Environment

Distractions can wreak havoc on our productivity. Whether it be checking the latest on your Facebook or Instagram feed, impromptu dirty nappies, or a phone that never stops ringing – taking control of your environment during designated work times is essential.

Eliminate all distractions where possible, such as turning off your phone, logging out of your emails, and turning off desktop notifications. Let your family know when you are planning on studying, so they know not to disturb you. If need be, you can always hire a babysitter for the kids for a couple of hours while you hit the books.

Stay Realistic & Set Deadlines

Trying to look after kids, run a business, do the housework, take on extra study and be a supportive partner or wife is no small feat. If you do decide to undertake some extracurricular activity for yourself, it’s important you set realistic goals and deadlines.

Deadlines provide us with the motivation to achieve our goals, and a consequence if we fail to do so. However, the ability to make these goals and deadlines realistic is vital. Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself can end with discouragement and disappointment.  If your initial goal is unattainable, you are starting your journey with a handicap. Remember you are only human, and it’s okay to shift goalposts if you’re finding it difficult to keep to your plan. Set yourself expectations that you know are within your reach and don’t be too hard on yourself. With these points in mind, you’re well and truly on the path to success!

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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