10 Must-Have Time Management Tips for Working Students

Trying to manage all the demands of working, raising a family and going to school is no easy task, but it is possible. Working students just like you can truly still have it all! Student time management skills are your secret weapon to daily survival and success in reaching your goal!

Working students have lots of responsibilities taking up the majority of their time; but does that mean you’ve given up on your dream of someday having the rewarding career you’ve always imagined? Hopefully not. Read on to find out how to get ahead of the game as a working student.

Follow these ten tips to make working, raising a family and going to school manageable:

  1. Set attainable goals and prioritize.
  2. Create a support system.
  3. Find a job that works around your school schedule.
  4. Find reliable daycare.
  5. Make a schedule, but be flexible.
  6. Stay organized.
  7. Manage your time well.
  8. Delegate household responsibilities.
  9. Control stress levels.
  10. Maintain focus and know that it can be done.

1 – Set attainable goals and prioritize.

Choose realistic goals and stay focused by prioritizing what is most important to you and your desired objective.

  • Every decision you make should depend on your actual abilities. For example, if you can’t fit a full class load into your schedule, then start with just 1 or 2 classes a semester and go from there.
  • Once you know how much you can handle with school, you can attempt adding more to your schedule.

A good tip is to break down one big goal into several smaller goals that are easier to manage.

  1. First, write out goals.
  2. Then take note of the progress you’ve made as each goal is checked off your list; this will build up your confidence.

This first student time management tip – “Set attainable goals and prioritize.” – is the most important. Once you master this skill, the remaining 9 tips should be easy to put into practice.

2 – Create a support system.

  • Get buy-in from your existing support group: Discuss your decision to go back to school with your employer, family and friends. Make sure they understand why you are doing it, and that you – a working student – are going to need their help along the way.
  • Reach out to your new support group at school: Use your school counselors, join a study group, get to know other working students who have similar daily obligations. Just make sure not to alienate existing friends or family members. You will not believe how much this support will help you in your pursuit of a new career.

3 – Find a job that works around your school schedule.

Find flexible work because school is your priority now.

If there are others that can do what you do at your job, it will be easier to take time off and trade shifts to work around your school schedule.

Look for jobs at the school you go to, at your child’s daycare, or maybe something you can do from home. If your employer doesn’t understand, look for a new one.

4 – Find reliable daycare.

Decide which form of childcare will work best for you and schedule to meet with them. Once you’ve chosen your arrangement, locate a few back-up sources in case anything changes. There are many choices for reliable childcare, such as:

  • Public and private daycare centers
  • Preschools
  • In-home daycare
  • Parent trade-offs
  • Babysitting pools
  • Family members
  • Nannies

5 – Make a schedule, but be flexible.

If you haven’t already done so, make a schedule.

  • This schedule should be at least somewhat flexible and contain every activity required of your day.
  • Once you have it all down in writing and can see it from a better perspective, figure out what can be shuffled and what needs to stay put.
  • The time between work and family obligations can be used for study and homework.

Now that your schedule is complete, don’t forget to communicate your daily obligations to your family, employer and friends. Once everyone knows what to expect of your time, things should run smoothly.

6 – Stay organized.

  • To succeed as a working student, you must stay organized in all aspects of your life. You will notice that when your spaces are organized, your thoughts follow suit. Knowing where everything is at any given moment will also save you valuable time that can be put towards more important tasks.
  • Keep your schedule up to date. Any changes that must be made should be updated immediately. This is especially important at the start of a new semester, when class times tend to change and new arrangements need to be made.

7 – Manage your time well.

Successful student time management is all about preparing and making every minute count. For example, use the valuable time before you go to sleep to:

  • Lay out clothes
  • Pack up lunches and backpacks
  • Set out keys, coats and shoes (weather appropriate)
  • Get the coffee ready to brew
  • Take a shower
  • Decide on a breakfast menu

This will save you precious time in the morning and insure that you won’t be late to anything.

8 – Delegate household responsibilities.

Delegate, delegate, delegate! If you have children over the age of 4, they can probably lend you a hand around the house and lighten some of your load. Make sure that everyone contributes to the family and has a job that they can actually do. In doing this, you will teach your children valuable skills for living independently in the future. And don’t forget to use your support system.

9 – Control stress levels.

  • Keep stress in check. For a working student or parent going back to school, relieving stress is just as important as keeping it at bay.
  • Take breaks often. Take a night off from studying and plan something fun to do with the family, friends or on your own.
  • Make sure to take time each day to do at least one thing that you enjoy, such as reading for pleasure.
  • Stretch, exercise or meditate. This can be as simple as going for a short walk.
  • Remind yourself why you are doing this and reward yourself for your hard work and accomplishments.
  • Enjoy the little things that always made you happy and incorporate them into every day activities.

10 – Maintain focus and know that it can be done.

Focus on the subject at hand. Manage one task at a time and don’t think about anything else.

  • If you’re with the family, be with the family and hold off on balancing the checkbook.
  • If you’re at school, focus on your assignments and put work responsibilities on hold.
  • When fixing meals, don’t stress about who is getting the kids to their activities.

Remind yourself why you’re doing all of this: little sacrifices can lead to big rewards. Try not to be too hard on yourself if not everything goes the way you planned; that’s life.

Know that lots of people make the decision to go back to school every day and do it successfully. If they can do it, so can you! It just takes a little compromise and a lot of drive. Find a vocational school near you today and start reaping the benefits of convenience.

Kicked Out of School and I’m Only 7! Jimmy’s Story 1

Welcome to Jimmy’s world.

Jimmy isn’t his real name but let’s rename him to tell his story. He is 7 years old and his history at school was awful — catastrophic wouldn’t be too strong a description! Jimmy’s catalogue of behaviours sent the adults in charge of him running for the hills — violence, aggression, non-compliance, social ignorance, manipulation and disruption! All this before he left infant school. Finally he was permanently excluded from infant school as he was considered unmanageable. This presented a problem for the local authority — what to do with him to enable his education to be maintained. Our Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) doesn’t cater for KS1 pupils, although I have successfully worked with this younger age group (Year 2) in my PRU classes. They fitted in very well, and the older junior children were extremely considerate and kind to them — very protective. It was humbling to see such vulnerable children understanding so clearly the needs of children so much younger than themselves.

Anyway, those in charge deemed it inappropriate for Jimmy and his age group to attend the PRU. Maybe this situation will change as schools are increasingly being presented with unacceptable behaviour from very young children such as Jimmy and they feel ill equipped to manage. They are asking for help from us but we are, at present, unable to offer the provision. It is extremely frustrating for the schools and ourselves. Without assistance the child’s behaviour will inevitably become more difficult to manage. Research shows that the earlier problem behaviour is addressed, the more successful the outcome. And surely there can’t be an excuse for ‘writing off’ children at such an early age (or at any age for that matter!). This problem of children behaving badly at an early age also indicates the need for a greater degree of training for school personnel in dealing effectively with behaviour in order to prevent such unacceptable escalations.

Hm, off your soapbox Liz and back to Jimmy!

So, what was decided to continue Jimmy’s education? Well, the problem remained. People were required to teach Jimmy who were able to manage his behaviour effectively. But, there aren’t people available with the necessary expertise to manage such children. Many (in fact most) people have the best intentions, and honestly believe they can manage children’s behaviour, but without training and experience the result can be more harm than good being achieved. Children are very astute little beings. They very quickly evaluate a situation and establish whether an adult’s authority has to be respected or not. If they decide they don’t have to respect the adult, then sure as night follows day they will give the adult the run around and chaos will reign. It’s a lose/lose situation.

A bit of a panic resulted because Jimmy had to be educated and I was asked if I knew of anyone who was available to work with him. No, of course I didn’t know of anyone — such people aren’t available because the vital need for training in effective behaviour management isn’t deemed to be a priority. Two people were employed to work with Jimmy and they were to be allocated a room at a local family centre where classes would be run. Yes, two people to manage one little boy! Astounding… I met and advised one of the ladies and she was a lovely person. She had the best intentions — she dearly wanted to succeed with Jimmy. But, unfortunately, being a lovely person doesn’t necessarily equip you for dealing with a little body determined to have his own way. Without the necessary experience and training why should anyone be able to manage the extreme behaviour Jimmy was likely to display? The bonus of being trained in effective behaviour management techniques is that generally you don’t have to deal with major difficulties because the skill is in prevention and not allowing behaviour becoming a problem in the first place. You know you can head off the unacceptable before it happens — you learn to ‘act on an intention’. The techniques are so effective and your life with the children in the classroom becomes far more enjoyable and stress is reduced enormously.

Unfortunately, unless effective strategies were employed, this well intentioned intervention to continue Jimmy’s education was merely going to be a holding exercise and was doomed to failure. Jimmy was quickly going to realise the adults lacked confidence and knowledge and his reign of disruption and aggression was bound to continue. Think about it — his well tried methods had worked up to now so why not continue with them? He’d be rather foolish to change his ways now, wouldn’t he? He was getting exactly what he wanted by behaving in this way. As adults we know that such behaviour isn’t good for a child, but a child only sees the short term, the moment, the instant. They haven’t the emotional maturity to realise the long term emotional damage being inflicted.

One of the drawbacks these two workers faced was the advice given by other professionals involved with Jimmy. As with all children displaying extreme behaviour, a risk assessment was written. I was privy to this document as it was always intended that Jimmy should come to the PRU at the start of Year 3. What was written, although again with the best of intentions, wasn’t going to help Jimmy or those working with him. The document was written by those without the necessary skills or experience in managing difficult and severely challenging behaviour. The wrong advice and the employment of ineffective strategies simply leads to a worsening of the behaviour. In short, the document advised that those working with Jimmy should minimise any trouble by allowing Jimmy to be in control of the environment. This could only lead to one outcome — disaster.

Jimmy’s helpers were in an impossible position. Instinctively, they knew that this official advice was wrong. A perfect example of Milgram’s theory of intelligent people following without question the advice of those in authority as outlined in Behaviour Bible. It was completely opposite to the advice I was offering — but at that time I was only on the periphery of the case. Jimmy hadn’t been assigned to me so my input and influence was minimal.

So what happened?

Disaster! Jimmy ruled the place. He was completely out of control and undisciplined. He was aggressive to the workers — physical and verbal attacks became common place. The adults were genuinely fond of Jimmy, who could be charming, well mannered and obliging. But when he wanted something his own way he would move heaven and earth to make sure things happened as he wanted. He would keep the pressure on the adults until they capitulated. This arrangement only continued for a short time and on a number of occasions the workers were ready to quit. They were out of their depth and I felt so sorry that they were having such a hard time and felt unsupported. In the short term these people were put under extreme stress and felt uncomfortable with the situation. In the longer term, both had their confidence in working with children severely damaged. Both are in the early stages of their careers and they will need a great deal of support to overcome this negative experience.

Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming increasingly common in mainstream schools. A child demonstrates increasingly problematic behaviour, the behaviour isn’t managed effectively and becomes worse. This is followed by the school asking for support and resources (money), they jump through many hoops over many months, time is lost, money is received, a worker who hasn’t the necessary skills is assigned to the child. The behaviour spirals out of control and the problems are now perceived to be insurmountable. And, invariably it is decided that there is something wrong with the child. Well there must be, mustn’t there because the school has done everything they know of to remedy the situation and nothing has improved? But unfortunately what has been done hasn’t been effective because the adults involved haven’t the knowledge of how to remedy the situation successfully.

More and more professionals become involved — psychologists, psychiatrists, Uncle Tom Cobley and all! More and more such children end up being prescribed medication — the chemical cosh. But, so often I have had children referred to me who are prescribed enormous daily amounts of Ritalin or its equivalent and still the terrible behaviour continues. But, rather than facing the fact that the adults are managing the child ineffectively, the medication is increased. What a terrible state of affairs. More frequently, rather that the problem being remedied the child is excluded from school. Nothing has been changed or improved, the child is labelled as uncontrollable and the future looks bleak as the child is discarded from the school environment.

In Jimmy’s case the 2 workers finally gave up and gave notice to quit. They just couldn’t cope any longer. I sympathised with them — nobody goes to work to be abused and attacked, it’s not a reasonable expectation. The only fortunate aspect of this dire situation was that all this happened in the final part of the summer term and Jimmy was out of educational provision for only a short time.

It was at this point that I became officially involved in Jimmy’s education and I was invited to a multi agency meeting where his future provision was to be discussed. So off I went…

The meeting…

It always strikes me that these meetings are generally focused on the problems of the child — he does this, that and the other (nothing positive usually). The question is never asked, ‘What are we doing wrong in the management of this child?’ True to form, the discussion at the meeting related to Jimmy’s problems — ok, there were plenty of them, but my theory is that apart from very rare circumstances where there is something genuinely wrong with the child (something medical or a mental health problem) the solution to severe behaviour problems is the management of the child by the adults responsible for the child’s care. In Jimmy’s case it became apparent that no-one had ever managed his behaviour effectively and achieved any improvement.

As Jimmy had been permanently excluded from his infant school, a new school had to be identified. The meeting was informed that local schools had been identified and approached, and without fail they had been less than welcoming and quite negative about Jimmy’s prospects. Experience has shown that while schools wouldn’t admit the fact openly, they are extremely reluctant to accept a child like Jimmy — quite understandable really. They focus on the child’s past and assume the future will be the same. However, I have confidence in a number of schools with whom I have very positive relationships. These schools trust the work I do and know that a child with problems wouldn’t be re-integrated until I was confident that they had progressed sufficiently. The school would also have my total support. There will be advice and ongoing assistance as appropriate.

But, not all schools have this attitude — they don’t want ‘trouble’. They have their targets to consider, they have enough problems already, they don’t see why they should try and cope with a child with a history of inappropriate behaviour. I partly sympathise with them, particularly as many of them haven’t the skills or experience to deal with a child such as Jimmy. But I have never heard this as an reason for their reluctance to accept a child — it’s always the child’s problems that are cited as the reason for refusal, never the fact that they wouldn’t be up to the task.

A local authority can make a school accept a child, but this is not a satisfactory situation. Being forced to accept a child can only result in a negative attitude from the school and can lead to them putting little effort into meeting the child’s needs. I would even say that certain schools could be tempted to sabotage a child’s place at a school in order that exclusions result or a managed move to another school is the only way forward. I often feel that some schools don’t see themselves as a public service, funded by tax payers, and serving their community. But, that’s exactly what state schools are. A service to provide a statutory service to their ‘clients’ — local children and their families. Sometimes they act as though they are private fee paying establishments…

Oh heck, I’ve digressed again…

So, one of the schools suggested that could meeting Jimmy’s needs was discounted because it was a junior school. I asked what the problem was as Jimmy was entering Year 3 so would be a lower junior pupil. The reason? The junior school wouldn’t have facilities for infant play that was deemed necessary for Jimmy. Hm, I had to inform the meeting that when he came to me, Jimmy would be expected to be a regular Year 3 boy, and would only play when it was timetabled. He had to learn to adhere to the standards that would be expected of his age group in a mainstream school. Why do I think this way? I strongly believe that a child has to be treated age appropriately unless they are diagnosed with a condition that makes this inappropriate. In some cases children have missed certain stages in their development but you can’t make a 7 year old into a 3 year old. To have mixed expectations — a 7 year old in class and then when the adults deem it appropriate it’s time for infant play, suddenly the child is treated like a child years younger — carries the danger of the child becoming more confused than is necessary.

What about making allowances for a child’s underprivileged past?

No, I don’t do that either. Why? Because, although I have knowledge of the child’s past and understand the impact this will have had on the child, I know that if I make allowances and reduce my level of expectation, I am encouraging the child to remain a victim of their past. I have to take the child beyond that time and encourage them to understand that they can grow in confidence and achieve well in school and socially. A child can’t be taken into a successful future if we dwell in the past. Of course the past is still there and can’t be eradicated, but the impact can be lessened.

So, it was decided that a particular school be contacted and a visit arranged in order that those responsible for Jimmy could ‘get a feel’ of the selected school. I knew that they would be made welcome and the visit would be a very positive experience.

Is Management Career Training Available Online?

Students looking for management training have another option besides traditional schooling. Online training is available in several areas where students can step into a virtual classroom and learn how to manage people and organize business related projects. Many schools and colleges offer students the option to enter specialized training to become a manager.

Students can train to enter management careers in health care, marketing, food service, human resource, and more. Online training is available to students in specific concentrations that include:

  • Applied Management
  • Organizational Management
  • Project Management
  • Restaurant Management
  • Retail Management
  • Health Management

Schooling can be completed at the certificate level for introductory knowledge in a management category. Some certificate programs are offered as post-education refresher courses, which is where already working professionals learn a new technology or practice. Most students opt to complete a degree program from an associate’s to doctoral level of education. Training inside an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program prepares students for entry-level managerial positions within their chosen field. A master’s or doctoral degree gives students advanced knowledge and skills to become lead managers and executives within their respected field of work.

Obtaining an applied management degree is a common path for many of today’s professionals. Students learn the theories and procedures of management. The goal is to teach students how to apply their acquired skills to an organization or business. Applied management is a great option for students that already have a career and want to enter a leadership position. Online study gives students the knowledge to apply their learned skills to their job. Students that complete a degree program in management can use their skills to work in many areas like accounting, government, marketing, and more.

Students that have a desire to enter specific management training should research the available options. One online option is earning a degree in project management. Students can expect to learn to efficiently manage an organization’s resources in a project-based environment. Courses emphasize understanding how to employ concepts in strategic management, teamwork, and keeping to a budget in regards to a project.

Another popular training option is earning a degree in restaurant management. Students can expect to complete online courses that teach them how to work with the accounting, marketing, and personnel areas of managing a restaurant. The entire business is broken down so students can learn to successfully maintain a restaurant. Budgets, menus, and food systems are some topics discussed inside a degree program.

Learning to be a manager is a necessary skill in many areas related to the business world. The first step to entering the career field is to explore the different training programs provided by accredited online schools. Full accreditation is proof that the program can offer students a quality education. Agencies like the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs ( www.acbsp.org/ ) can provide full accreditation to schools that meet all necessary qualifications. Begin education today by entering an online program in management.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

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