The work, life and study balancing act

The work, life and study balancing act

There comes a time in our lives where work, studies, and life are bombarding us and if we are not adequately prepared, it can become a struggle. If there was a way to control and balance these duties – stress wouldn’t be an issue. We’ve got a couple of pointers that we think could help you manage your time while you’re working and studying.

The Balancing Act

Being a student and an employee isn’t a walk in the park. Eight-hour shifts followed by academic work are tiring – but there are ways around this.

Firstly, it’s essential to communicate with your employer and be open about your academic progress. Depending on your company policy, there is a possibility that you’re allowed to take study leave. If you can’t get study leave, then you have to manage your time well.

Plan Smart

The sooner you start, the more effective it is to manage your time in a calendar. As soon as you get information about assignment deadlines or exam dates, immediately begin planning out your study sessions. The sooner you start, the fewer hours you’d spend daily. A little bit every day goes a long way!

Break It Down

The way you want to break up your study sessions is up to you. However, you must make sure that you’re concentrating on one subject per day. By doing this, you’re able to retain focus and not be distracted by other subjects. After you’ve decided what you’re doing each day, you can break up your sessions by the amount of time you want to spend, or you can organise your sessions based on the number of chapters or pages you want to get through.

Be tactical and smart about it – make sure that you’re putting in a consistent amount of work each day and that you’re hitting your targets.

Time is Finite

As mentioned, the sooner you start planning, the less stressful studying and working will be, especially if you’d still like to be social and have time to rest. Preparing means you’re strategising your time so that you have time to do the things you want to do. For example, don’t waste time sitting in traffic after work! Instead, use this time for study sessions at work, then either go home when traffic has dissipated or meet up with friends.

There are only so many hours in a day, and you have to find time to study.

Play Smart

You’ve got to make time for yourself.

The brain is like a muscle going through fitness training. You have to put the pen down now and then so that you can cool down and recover.

How do you spend time when you’re not working or studying? Here are a couple of things you can do that will help you take time off constructively so that when you pick up that pen again you’re refreshed and ready to learn!


While your mind is at rest, put your body to work.

Whether it means going for a walk, running or hitting the gym – exercise has been proven to increase oxygen to the brain. In doing so, you’re getting significant hormone production which helps develop your mind and decrease stress!

Keep active and healthy, and exercise at least three times a week, and you’ll feel the benefits of exercise when you’re working and studying.

Be Social

Susan Pinker, an American psychologist, states that when we’re social (face-to-face social interactions), we’re eliminating stress and anxiety – common symptoms of working and studying. Make sure you’re making time to see your friends and loved ones to counteract these symptoms.

Eat Healthily

Eat good – feel good!

Having a highly nutritional meal plan goes a long way in sustaining your health and energy. A well-rounded diet is essential not only for your studies but for your lifestyle and exercise regime. Ask your doctor on nutritionist for professional information on the best menu for you!


Sleep is your best friend when you’ve got a loaded schedule.

Working and studying while you’re fatigued is not just a detriment to your mental health but it also stunts your ability to memorise the content you’re learning. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep is optimal for you to be fully energised and functional. People often make the mistake of sleeping more, which not only makes you more tired but also disturbs your sleeping patterns as well as uses up time that you could spend productively.

Avoid Alcohol

David Dutchman and Dr Philip Murphy composed a study on students and compared their alcohol consumption to their academic performance. Those who had high alcohol consumption rates had lower marks compared to those that consumed minimal amounts of alcohol.  Although other variables could come into consideration, science has proved that alcohol affects cognitive functions. Not only in the short term but with continued use, the long-term cognitive effects become worse.

Need help? Ask.

We are all different and therefore have alternative methods when it comes to balancing work, study, and play. Not everything mentioned above will work for you, and that’s okay.

Find an experienced working student and find out how they’ve managed to master the balancing act! Better yet, get in touch with your lecturer or department and find out what they believe works best.

Things To Consider

Working efficiently and avoiding stress is the ultimate goal when you’re studying and working. To summarise, make sure you’re open about your academics to your employer; strategise your time to avoid overexerting yourself down the road; avoid unproductive and harmful distractions as well as using your free time constructively. Talk to your family about how you feel when you’re stressed and anxious – often they know what’s best for you and can find a solution or motivate you. They do know you better than anyone else.

If you have any pointers that you’ve felt have worked in your experience, feel free to get in touch with us.

We hope that this will help your work and study endeavours.

Good luck with your studies and your career!