3 Practical Tips for Balancing a Career and Online Degree Program

Before online learning became popular, working and learning at the same time was only considered by people who were able to function with very little sleep and show a level of determination that was nearly superhuman. Now, studying for a degree and holding down a job simultaneously isn’t quite as challenging. That’s especially true if you go about things in the right way and maintain a sensible mindset.

Be Frank With Your Boss About Any Availability Changes

If it turns out the online course you enroll in will adversely affect availability at your job, it’s smart to bring that reality up with your boss as soon as possible. The great thing about online courses is that you can study at times that are most convenient for you. That means you probably won’t have to make drastic changes to your availability at your job in order to pursue learning.

Even so, make sure to relay all necessary information to your boss and practice good communication skills. It’s crucial to engage in active listening, be mindful of your body language, and make it clear you’re open to answering any questions that may arise. The earlier in the process you speak to your boss about your online learning plans, the less likely it is you’ll run into problems.

Stick to Hours for Working and Studying

In today’s technology-driven culture, many people just assume everyone they know can instantly drop everything and respond to text messages, emails, and phone calls. However, if you indulge that belief by making yourself constantly available, it’ll be much harder to set aside time to participate in your online course.

For best results, learn how to set boundaries with colleagues, friends, and other people in your life. You should ideally have a portion of the day that’s devoted to studying and another that’s just for work, although the two may overlap occasionally.

Verbalize your availability and explain why it’s necessary for you to take such steps to set boundaries. It’s also helpful to use auto-reply messages for your email and specific voicemail recordings to alert others if you’re unavailable. If possible, set a timeframe so people know when they can expect to hear from you again once they try to get in touch during a time you’ve mentioned you’re not available.

View Your Online Degree as a Path to a Brighter Future

It’s true that holding down a job while you’re also earning a degree can be tough. However, you should find it’s a lot easier to stay motivated if you keep remembering what the future holds. For example, if you’re earning a degree from the University of Southern California that relates to Communication Management, the things you learn could allow you to excel in nearly any industry imaginable because you’ve developed strong problem-solving skills and learned how to analyze situations to come up with actionable strategies.

On the other hand, maybe you want to use your online degree to supplement a previous degree you’ve earned. It’s possible to learn more about how to do things such as receive a certification in business law to supplement an existing degree. That opportunity could allow you to break into new sectors and bring your law knowledge to new clients.

Once you’re able to realize how your online education opens doors to opportunities that could help you enjoy a more secure, highly profitable future, you should find it’s significantly easier to achieve your degree. Otherwise, you may feel discouraged and wonder if you’ll be able to finish the course.

Besides keeping the above suggestions in mind, it’s great to have support from people in your life who are in favor of your online education. They can offer both practical and emotional assistance.
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