Finding time to study as a busy parent can be one of life’s challenges. Managing your time effectively between reading learning materials and ferrying kids to school might seem impossible, but with these creative time management tips any student can find a way to balance their parenting and study commitments.
1. Create a permanent study space
Every student needs a quiet place to study. Choose a space that you can make your own, away from general distractions and ideally with a door that closes. You can even make a sign to put on the door letting your family know – “Do not disturb, student at work.” Check out more great tips on creating a productive home study space.
2. Use a timetable
This will help you keep track of what you’re doing and when, but also to help your partner and kids to understand your busy times. Display your timetable somewhere everyone can see, like on the fridge.
3. Get the kids involved
Make study a family activity. Older children can do their schoolwork at the same time you do and for the younger ones give them a fun activity to complete while you get on with your study.
Break your study into manageable bites with three items on your to do list each day. “outcome orientated tasks” that are less than an hour each. In other words, list tangible tasks such as “find 5 references for essay” or “do Week 1 activity.”
5. Study when you can
With children, plans and schedules can change at the last minute, so study when you can! Even if this means you can only achieve 30 minutes at a time. Try creating a list of 30 minute outcome orientated tasks (for example: “read learning material for the week”, or “post in the discussion board”) and when you have 30 minutes of quiet time, pick something off your list.
To keep it interesting you could even make a ‘study lucky dip’ with a range of tasks that you need to do, and pick one out when you have 30 minutes spare. Some parents also find it best to study either early in the morning or later at night when their children are asleep, so work out what best suits your routine.
6. Take “me” time
Remember that study is work, too. Schedule in time for yourself, whether its exercise, relaxation time or a hobby you enjoy.
7. Ask for help when you need it
Support systems don’t just have to consist of family. Occasional babysitting or playdates with other children at your house can provide valuable time for study and some councils offer affordable child care options.
If you’d like to discuss more ways you can manage your time and study, you can always call through to our Student Liaison Team for a support plan that works with your unique situation.