All of us have experienced a balancing act in our lives at one time or another, but parents have time management demands that can feel impossible to meet. From chores to work to appointments, the demands and balancing act may seem like they will never let up.
As difficult as it can be to imagine fitting yet another responsibility into your life, you might be surprised at how attainable a bachelor’s or master’s degree can be. (Please note that we didn’t say easy.) University of Phoenix has a few tips for streamlining your schedule and finding time to improve your life through education.
Know Your Opportunity Costs
Opportunity costs are discussed constantly in economics, but the truth is we all face them every day. Saying yes to one job means saying no to another. Saying yes to being PTA president could mean saying no to your own education. Before you can make a change in your life, you have to list your priorities for both the short and long term. This can range from having family dinners at least four times a week or carving out at least three hours a week for a hobby.
Prioritizing yourself does not mean giving up your favorite things or sacrificing the needs of others for years on end. However, it does mean that your long-term goals should be every bit as important as your short-term goals and the demands of others. So if your career goals require a degree to get you where you want to be, then you might need to trim or reallocate how you spend your time now.
How to Get Started: Fitting in Work, Parenting, and Studying
The staff at University of Phoenix have seen people struggle in the dual role of parent and student, but the flip side is that they have also seen many experience success in spite of the challenges. Here are some top tips from the University to help manage it.
- One to two: This is the bare minimum number of days per week you’ll need to study. Choose the day when your kids are the least busy for the best results.
- Delegate: We cannot stress this one enough. Kids as young as two years old are capable of picking up their toys and putting them away. Get them into good habits now, and you’ll have less of a problem later on.
- Timer: Having a stopwatch set for your studying can actually make it easier for you to do what needs to be done. Instead of dawdling, you have an immediate reminder that you have some important tasks to finish and a set amount of time to do them in.
- Blend: Multitasking isn’t always the right thing to do, but you can find ways to record your notes and listen to them while you’re cooking or have your kids quiz you for a test at the dinner table.
- Technology: There are all kinds of time tracking apps that can help you make more of your time. If you want to know just how much time you spend on YouTube, particularly if you’re telling yourself you have too much to do, an app can help you identify pockets where you can be more productive or spend your time more wisely.
- Set limits: Having time limits for certain activities can make it easier to set aside time for studying. One of the best ways to get ahead at school is to ensure that you don’t feel rushed during your assignments or right before a test.
- Get rest: Sleep is the way your brain makes room to process what you have learned and realign for the tasks of the next day. If you’re putting your coursework off during the day only to pick it up at night, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice by cutting into your sleep time.
- Maximize free time: If you happen to have a bit of unexpected free time, look to make the most of it as a student. Give yourself the edge by squeezing in a chapter or reviewing your research for an extra 15, 30, or 60 minutes.
Hitting the Right Stride: The Balance Between Family, School, and Work
If you’re looking for a school that can accommodate your (very) busy schedule, University of Phoenix was founded on this principle. Rather than catering to teenagers with little more to focus on than learning, the University was created to help adults who already have real-life responsibilities to manage.
Learning online at the University means access to classes every hour of the day, every day of the year. You take courses one at a time. University of Phoenix also has multiple start dates to make it that much easier to get started.
So even if your child becomes ill or you have an unexpected work presentation you need to finish, the University makes it possible for you to focus on your needs. If you’re considering getting a degree, we invite you to talk to an enrollment representative to see what resources are available to you. We’re here to support you from the admissions process to graduation and beyond.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix helps people from every walk of life succeed in today’s ever-shifting market. By offering a variety of online programs, the University makes it possible for parents to get their degrees even as they juggle full-time jobs and household duties. If you’re ready to step up your life and get more out of your career, we invite you to visit www.phoenix.edu.