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5 Productivity Tips for Individuals Who Need to Balance Work and Studies

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One of the best ways to achieve personal and professional growth is through continuous learning.  If you’re working in Singapore, it’s especially important to get ahead of the game given the level of competition that workers typically have to face in the workplace.

However, as a busy professional, you may find it difficult to stay productive when you’re working and studying at the same time. To help you get back on track, here are some tips that will allow you to maximize your time and energy to succeed in both endeavors:

Plan, Plan, Plan

While it may spur you into sudden action, putting things off for tomorrow or “next time” is a bad habit. Indeed, cramming makes you lose focus and produce substandard output. In order to be consistently efficient and productive, you need to have a plan.

You can approach this in various ways, although the most popular way to do it is to simply use a calendar and then make a daily to-do list. Adding weekly and monthly goals will also give a complete picture of what you have to accomplish, in turn allowing you to make better plans. A to-do list also comes in handy in case you need to shuffle things around if your schedule suddenly changes.

Learn How to Prioritize

​​Speaking of shuffling things around, when you’re caught in a deluge of responsibilities, learning how to prioritize helps lighten the load without you losing sight of what you have to do. It can be helpful to develop your own method of prioritization. For example, you can sort your tasks as either low priority, high priority, or urgent; obviously, those in the urgent category should be done first.

It’s also important to understand that there may be times when you have to give up on some things. If you’re used to going out with your friends on Friday nights for a catch-up dinner, you may have to skip if there’s a looming deadline. Try to reschedule or find an alternative, such as organizing a video call with the group instead.

Indeed it’s important not to get sidetracked, especially if you have a goal. If you’re planning to get a promotion by upskilling through a SkillsFuture Series course, for example, you have to find time to accommodate your classes along with any regular work you might already be doing. Knowing your priorities will allow you to spend less time on activities that might occupy much of your hours otherwise.

Talk with Your Employer

Sometimes, your schedule may seem so jam-packed that there’s no time to breathe. However, there’s a possibility that you’re also taking on more work than you can actually handle. Be honest with yourself and commit only to responsibilities that you can reasonably handle. If you don’t, you’ll burn out fast and feel unmotivated.Discuss with your employer

It’s also helpful if you talk to your supervisor or manager at work, and let them know that you’re pursuing further education to hone your skills. This way, everyone is aware of your situation and can make concessions where needed. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should slack off; rather, you should take the opportunity to refine your plans so you’ll have more breathing room and accomplish things more efficiently.

If you’re self-employed, the abovementioned point about coming up with your personal prioritization method becomes even more important. Running a business means you’re in charge of your own time, so it’s easier to fall into the trap of trying to do too much. Learn how to stop and evaluate your situation before moving forward.

Make Use of Technology

For busy folks, technology is a great ally. Even your smartphone is full of helpful features that can help you keep track of things easily. The built-in calendar app on your phone, for example, can be used to schedule appointments and create separate task timetables for work and school.

You can also download other applications to help you manage your workloads, like project managers, file organizers, note-taking apps, and list makers. If you’re finding yourself easily distracted by social media, there are app blockers or similar software that can prevent you from accessing certain websites at specified times.

Take Breaks and Take Care of Yourself

Every working professional experiences some amount of stress; if you’re studying at the same time, it’s highly likely that you experience more because you’re juggling more responsibilities. What will make a difference is the way you manage stress. One good way to do this is to recognize your triggers and to do your best to avoid them. Take breaks every so often, in between bouts of working or studying, so that you can realign and refocus.

It’s also important not only to manage stress, but also to make an effort to reduce it. You can do this by scheduling exclusive relaxation time, when you can indulge in your hobbies or simply do something that you enjoy or want—like sleep, for example!

Speaking of sleep, your body can give up on you if you’re always in high-performance mode. Make sure to allocate ample time to rest and rejuvenate. Of course, it’s also important to eat healthy and get enough exercise.

It’s normal to feel a little off-rhythm when you’re wearing multiple hats at the same time. Hopefully, these simple productivity tips can help you in getting your groove back and become more efficient in all your endeavors.