You are a college or university student. Sure your primary job is to complete your academics but you probably wanted to gain some new experiences or learn something new (or just succumbed to peer pressure), and so you started a part-time job. However, you soon realized that managing your academics and work is not that easy. You have less personal time, you have less time for friends and you are probably stressed. But fear not! There is still hope! We have got the solution to your problem right here.
Plan your work
“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned” – Benjamin Franklin
When I started my first part-time job, I faced two problems. First, my time for chilling and watching Netflix decreased significantly. Second, I missed some deadlines because there were just so many. The solution? Plan the next day every night before you go to sleep and strictly follow it. Be sure to use Google calendar, Evernote or Google keep to make these plans. That way, you can add necessary descriptions and reminders.
Tomato aka Promodoro in Italian is the name of a wonderful time management technique. This was developed in the late 1980s when Francesco Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to track his focused work sessions with short breaks. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
* Make a to-do list and get a timer/clock to track time.
* Focus completely on one work for 25 minutes and then take a short 5-minute break.
* After four 25-minute work sessions, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.
This technique is simple but it helps to get rid of the monotony and to revive your focus. As a result, you are less bored and less distracted while working and you can finish your work faster.
Choosing the right part-time job is crucial for maintaining the balance between your work and academics. Yes, you will be tempted to do almost full-time jobs because your over-achieving friends do so or that pays more. But choosing something that you cannot maintain will just be self-destruction. So, don’t go overboard with your part-time work.
Moreover, if you know that you cannot fulfill a particular requirement of your workplace, talk to your manager and find a solution, don’t make fake promises and complicate things. To illustrate, you may have to be physically present at the office for 3 days of the week but for 2 of these days, your class schedule clashes with your office time. In this case, communicate to your manager that you will come late on those 2 days but you will strive to make up for the lost time by carrying out the extra tasks at home. This way your manager will have the right expectations and you don’t have to miss out on academics.
Do everything everywhere
I once had a deadline in 2 hours and I was stuck in traffic, miles away from my home. However, I did not wait to return to the comfort of my home to finish my article. I opened a google doc on my phone and started writing. So, what are the learnings from this anecdote? One, you need to have the flexibility of doing things on your phone because carrying laptops may not be an option every time. Two, you need to use collaboration software like google docs to ensure that you can come back home and start right where you left. Yes, working at unusual places is uncomfortable but you will adapt to it soon.
Copy, paste, edit
This is a simple yet elegant formula that helps you to magically complete your work just before the deadlines. That does not mean you should copy work from others without their permission. What I suggest is to use templates for repetitive tasks. For instance, you have to do a lot of presentations in your life and so make a general Powerpoint template. As a result, the next time you need to make a presentation, you just have to copy-paste your template and edit the writings and colors. Too lazy to make your own templates? Explore the amazing templates on Canva and slidesbean. Just remember that the more you learn to efficiently replicate your past work, the more you save your time.
So, that’s pretty much all of it. Now go and win both the battles of academics and part-time work with these strategies. Adios!