Study can easily get squeezed out of your day as a parent or carer. You constantly have different demands on your time and someone always needing your attention. Tying to fit study in to the changeable needs of your family can be a challenge, but these simple tips will help you ace uni and parenting!
- Build in buffer time. Add a one-week buffer zone to the deadline of any upcoming assessment. Whether it’s a tummy bug or your partner gets stuck at work… life happens. Have some time up your sleeves, so when the unexpected crops up it is not an immediate disaster.
- Embrace to-do lists. Make a thorough to-do list, then break the tasks into sections: a) what can I do around the kids e.g. emails or admin tasks and b) what needs kid-free focused time e.g. essay writing.
- Enhance the to-do list. Next, highlight items that you can delegate or eliminate. Such as, switch to online grocery orders, get the kids to cook one night or have your partner take over supervising homework. The aim is to maximise your precious time!
Find the right place
- Where are you most productive? Three hours of focused study time can turn into a whole day at home, whether it’s being asked to prepare a snack or find a missing shoe. While home may be the easiest option, try to swing by the library or a café and enjoy a chaos-free zone.
- Resist temptations. If you have a regular solo study time, DO NOT get distracted by housework before starting your study block. Housework can be done when the kids get home and when your focus is less sharp.
Help is in your home
- Renegotiate your children’s bedtimes. If you have school-aged kids, try adjusting bedtime to just thirty-minutes earlier each day and you will score yourself at least three or more hours of extra study time!
- Enlist help. If you have a partner, recognise that they are equally responsible for parenting. Make sure that your partner is onboard with your study schedule and communicate when you’re struggling. Older children can also take on chores. Plus, make the most of help from friends and family.
- Celebrate together. Your study milestones are worth the celebrations as a family! A dinner out at the end of exams or a family holiday after graduation is a great way to reward yourself and thank your family for their support.
Refresh your motivation
- Encourage yourself. Managing study and family is a mammoth effort and there will be nights when you barely sleep and days when you feel exhausted. Remember, you are most productive when you are not struggling to stay awake, so make use of that buffer zone and rest when you need to. You are also being a fantastic role model for your children by utilising healthy study habits!
- Accept that life is unpredictable. Things won’t always go to plan and it’s frustrating. But look for small wins, even fifteen minutes of reading counts as progress.
- Remind yourself why you’re studying. Clearly define your goals. Writing it out and sticking it in your study space will give you a gentle push to keep going, even on the hard days.