How to Juggle Full-time Work When You’ve Decided to Earn a New Certification

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Tired looking individual studying with laptop in the evening

Acquiring new skills and qualifications has many benefits. It can serve to improve your employability, future-proof your career, help you discover new passions, embark on a different career path, and expand your professional network.

Is it possible to make the most of an exciting learning opportunity without impacting your performance on the job?

It is not always easy to combine part-time studies with a full-time job, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to make it work.

1. See the big picture

First, and perhaps most importantly, you need to think about long-term gains. Your newly acquired skills will be of great benefit to both you and your employer, so you don’t have to feel guilty about prioritizing your professional development.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to deprioritize ー and of course reassign ー some of your daily tasks to help you find time to study during the work week. Talk to your manager to find a schedule that works for everyone. Keep in mind that this is a short term agreement and you will soon be back to your usual duties.

2. Be transparent

Your supervisor probably already knows about your extra-occupational studies. They may have encouraged you to sign up in the first place or helped you secure funding from your organization. If this is the case, they will likely understand and accommodate your need to juggle various commitments and deadlines.

But it’s equally important to keep the rest of your team in the loop. During this time, you may find it difficult to take on extra responsibilities or work outside of business hours, which is perfectly understandable. Your employees are better equipped and ready to support you when they know why you suddenly can’t take on ad hoc tasks.

3. Plan ahead

Disorganization hinders productivity and efficiency. Panic can set in when you feel overwhelmed by the length of your to-do list, and it can make it impossible to get anything done.

If planning ahead hasn’t been your thing in the past, now is definitely the time to do it. Schedule dedicated “study time,” especially in the run-up to your busiest times.

In college or trade school, you might have gotten away with cramming all your reviews into the last week before an exam. That’s not quite as practical if you have a full-time job.

4. Create a dedicated study area

When you spend your days in the office and your evenings studying, your free time quickly becomes shorter. The free time you have is all the more important for this.

Don’t get into the habit of working late, curled up on the sofa with the TV on in the background and takeout in hand. To maintain your mental health, it is important to distinguish between your work and study life and your personal life. Make sure you have a dedicated workspace in your home, take regular breaks, and find time to do the things you enjoy. Continuing education should not come at the expense of your well-being.

Advance your skills at your own pace with these free resources from Xometry

Photo credit: fizkes / Shutterstock.com

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