Work and Study

Work and Study

April 11, 2011

Is it possible to combine work with studies? If yes, how can this be done? This will be the topic of today’s post.

If you are reading this, chances are that you belong to either one of two categories:

  • i) You work & study at the same tide.
  • ii) You intend to work & study at the same time

Since the approach is different in regards to which one of these two categories you belong to, I’ll also deal with them differently.

I Already Work & Study

If you belong to this category that means that you are currently employed while studying at the same time. Your main concern is how to make this process as efficient as possible; assuming that there has been difficulties combing the two.


Measuring Your Time

Don’t limit yourself to estimations. If you truly want to know how much time your work & studies are consuming you need to sit down and calculate it on a piece of paper. Don’t be satisfied with writing down only the times that you are working or attending lectures.

Instead, write down all the necessary activities that pertain to that activity, e.g the time it takes to drive to work/school, prepare to work/school and so forth. Only when you measure all things related to that activity you can first begin to visualize how much time you’ll be left with.


Free Up Some Time

The easiest way to begin freeing up some time is to look through all the different time consuming activities (which you’ve already prepared in the step earlier) and go through each one asking yourself the same question: “Do I really need to do this?”. In many cases the answer will be yes but in some cases it will be no. Begin by locating these unnecessary activities.


Optimizing Your Time

Not everything can be discarded of course, so how do you deal with the rest of your activities? Once you’ve examined how much time is at your disposal, you can then begin to optimize your time and focus on the things that produce results. Go through each entry in your list and ask yourself the following question: “Can I optimize this somehow?”

You shouldn’t be doing unnecessary things just for the sake of doing them. If certain lectures don’t provide any benefit to you perhaps it is wiser to not attend those particular lectures and instead focus on working with the material individually, seeking out the teachers assistance when needed.

Other inquiries related to optimization include your method of transportation (can it be quicker, can you perhaps study while commuting?), lunch (can you shorten your lunch hours?) and other daily tasks that collectively take up a lot of time.

I Intend To Work & Study

If are currently either studying or working and you’re thinking of combing these two you’ll need to first investigate how much time the job/studies will take up.


Time Schedule

Create a physical time schedule filling in your work hours and the time allocated for the thing you’re currently doing. Keep one important thing in mind when you’re estimating how much time a particular activity will take up. Never bee to optimistic in evaluating time allocations. It’s better to plan for too little time than too much time. Even though something may seem ‘possible’ to do when calculating it on a piece of paper, it’s rarely as true when doing it in real life. This is because of the ever changing nature of life, things will happen that you didn’t account for. At the very least you should keep this in mind whenever you’re planning for something.


Keep the Primary Fixed

If possible, don’t go all in. I many cases one of the two things (job/studies) is your primary whether that is your studies or your current job. Either way, make sure the one that is secondary only takes up as much time as needed. If you are a full time student who needs extra cash, don’t try to fit in a full time job with once. Take it slowly, if possible part time in the beginning and more and more as you go. Likewise if you are currently working a full time job and you absolutely need this to support your family, don’t risk it all unless you feel absolutely certain that you can manage it.

In short, the primary is the constant, you can’t do much to decrease it’s size without dealing with severe repercussions. The secondary however is the variable in our scenario. Use it as you wish, a little or a lot as long as it does not decrease the size of the primary. The secondary is changed in relation to the primary and NOT the other way around, i.e if studying is your primary and work your secondary then you can work as much as you want UNLESS it hurts your studies because the primary is the key.

About the author

ABDERISAK ADAM is an author, blog writer and a PhD candidate in the institution of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. He is also the owner and webmaster of, a website dedicated to the discussion of study techniques in the context of higher education. Adam is the author of a number of publications including 'The Study Guide PRO'. You can connect with him through Google+, Linkedin or by submitting a form.

1 Comment

  1. Gee whiz, and I tohguht this would be hard to find out.

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