Time Management Challenge: Full-Time School & Full-Time Work

09 May Time Management Challenge: Full-Time School & Full-Time Work


 

A while back I decided to take advantage of some GI Bill benefits that were still available to me. I returned to school to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The good news is I’ll graduate without needing any loans. The bad news is in order to receive my full GI Bill benefits, I have to attend classes at least half time. No, that doesn’t mean I only have to attend half the classes (I wish it were so). What that really means is I need to take at least a half time course load. At the school I’m attending, a full course load in the master’s program is three classes, so I have to take at lease two classes per semester.

That sounded a lot easier before I started classes. Two masters’ level courses at one time is a pretty decent workload, especially when you’re working full time and trying to raise a family. At about the same time I started classes, things got a lot busier at work too, so I ended up working a lot more hours. Time management became critical. Unfortunately for me, time management is not one of my strengths.

There have been several times during this journey where I wondered if it was worth it. It would be much easier to not be in school while I’m working. But I know it’ll be worth it when it’s all said and done. In a few months I’ll be looking back thinking how easy it was!

Meanwhile, I’ve got to finish. So the time management piece becomes a challenge. It’s tough to maintain a balance when you add something to your schedule that takes up so much time. It’s like I took on a part-time job, putting in 10-15 hours per week or more.

I try to maintain a work-life balance when I can. It’s a constant juggling act, with even attention being paid to my career, my family, my faith, and my health. I guess personal time should be in there too, but it rarely gets included. Anyway, under normal conditions I can maintain a pretty good balance. When I throw something extra in there like school, it automatically means the other areas will suffer. Because I’m taking classes, I have less time for extracurricular activities with the kids. I have less time for church activities. I have less time to work out and maintain my health. I don’t have less time for work because I can’t control that – in fact, my work load has gone up since I started classes.

So I have to concentrate more on one area of my life. The other areas will inevitably suffer. Thus, I work hard to keep up in school and work until I get a break, then I catch up in other areas. The critical piece of this all is for me to realize that others are affected by this and to keep them in the loop. My family knows that there won’t be much family time until I graduate. They know work and school will take priority for a while. But they also know that after I graduate, I’m planning ahead to shift the balance back in their favor.

Nothing worth doing ever comes easy. Making sacrifices in some areas of life is part of achieving success in other areas. Have you made short-term sacrifices recently in order to reach your goals? How do you manage your time to maintain balance when you’re working on extra-curricular goals? If you’ve got any secrets, I’d love to hear them!

14 Comments
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  • Kevin Watts
    Posted at 13:09h, 27 May

    Good post. I think you realized that you focus on one area of your life other areas will suffer. You have to remind yourself that is a sacrifice and it is only temporary. I struggle with my online business and my regular job with sometimes leaves me little time to socialize. I have to tell myself that this only temporary.

  • KC @ genxfinance
    Posted at 08:50h, 01 June

    You can only pull off taking classes and working full time if you now how to manage your time well. I admire your time-management and dedication.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 17:26h, 02 June

      Yep. And time management isn’t something I do well, but I’m almost done 🙂

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  • Thomas | Your Daily Finance
    Posted at 12:27h, 03 June

    You can def pull off working full time and school full time. I know I did and several other people I know. Most people just waste a lot of time doing nothing anyways. I was getting paid they were at the food court or sleeping. We still hung out and had fun…i just needed to catch up on sleep. Time management is key for sure.

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 21:18h, 03 June

      It’s definitely doable but certainly challenging too. I just started my last two classes and so far they seem like they’ll be less time-intensive than the other classes I’ve taken.

    • Independence
      Posted at 15:36h, 21 August

      Indeed it’s doable but it’s also difficult My uncle somehow managed being a full time student and working two full time jobs. I can’t even imagine what that would have took to get him through school.

  • Trevor
    Posted at 11:58h, 10 June

    I feel you Matt! I’m kind of in the same boat. I don’t have a family to raise but I am a full time student, have a part time job and run NCAA Track and Field for my university. You definitely have to give up some stuff for better stuff. Time management is key. You can waste a lot of time without realizing it. Way to look at the long term results!

    • Matt Wegner
      Posted at 20:27h, 10 June

      Right on Trevor! I played a little bit of college football (ok, I red-shirted my freshman year for a team that just now moved up to DII). Anyway, even at that level, time management was critical. The funny thing was I did better in school when I was still on the team because I had such a strict schedule. Once I stopped playing, my grades dropped because I had too much free time. Good for you for being a student athlete!

      • Trevor
        Posted at 10:17h, 11 June

        Ha, that’s exactly right. I feel my grades would suffer a lot more if I wasn’t running track and field because my schedule is so organized day to day and the coaches really monitor my grades so I have to keep them in top shape.

        • Matt Wegner
          Posted at 18:37h, 11 June

          That’s a sign of good coaches – making sure you don’t jeopardize yourself 🙂

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