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How to Balance an Online Degree Program Work with Your Work Schedule


Online degree programs are a convenient option for expanding your training and skills. Balancing coursework in addition to your work schedule and managing a family can get hectic, but there is a way to do it. Use the following steps to help you balance it all:

Step 1: Don't Choose Too Many Courses at Once

It's great to be enthusiastic about online degree programs, but don't get so excited that you over do it. Select only one or two courses to take at a time, even if that means you'll earn your degree at a slower pace. If you pile on the courses, you will struggle to do well and end up performing in a mediocre manner at your work-at-home business, your degree program or both.

Step 2: Include Assignment Due Dates on Your Work Calendar

Don't create a separate calendar for your work-at-home job tasks and your school assignments. Put them all on the same calendar to see conflicting due dates, or to get a sense of what days or times of the month would be most busy for you. That way, you can avoid scheduling client meetings or business tasks that take you away from home when you have final papers or other major assignments due.

Step 3: Get Help during Busy Times

Start by asking your family for help during those busy times. Ask your spouse and children to take over the chores you may be responsible for, such as preparing meals, going to the supermarket or taking care of laundry. That frees you up to complete your courses and do your work-at-home job. If asking your immediate family for help is not an option, then start branching out to extended family and then to friends. Hiring someone should be your last resort, and only if you really have no other options.

Step 4: Drop Other Activities

Some of your hobbies may require time from you that you cannot spare if you're managing online degree programs, a work-at-home business and your family. You have to make a decision to let all or some of your personal activities go for awhile until you're done with your studies. For example, a monthly group meeting may seem harmless. Factor in the time it takes to drive to the meeting, the time you spend there and any preparation you make for it, and you'll see that you could allocate those five or six hours to finishing assignments or billing clients. It's temporary, but necessary sometimes to balance it all.

Step 5: Don't Work and Study at the Same Time

Multi-tasking comes easy to work-at-home moms, so you may find yourself working on your coursework and at the same time doing business related tasks. You're actually working against yourself when you try to learn and work this way, and you will be ineffective. Choose one or the other and focus on completing the project or assignment before switching to the next.

The balancing act is stressful, but it can be worth it when you choose online degree programs that boost your credentials and earning power.  As long as you have your priorities in order, and are willing to let go of the program or slow down when needed, you'll be in good shape.

Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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