Ten Top Tips for Balancing Work, Study and Family Life

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Bob Bradley, CEO at Computeach, says that the new year is a great time to review elearning strategies. He's come up with his top ten tips for stress free learning. Here’s his handout which trainers can give to anyone signing up for elearning in 2008.

1. Wake up half an hour earlier
Thirty minutes isn’t a great deal of time but can make all the difference if you are able to re-read a chapter of a textbook with a fresh pair of eyes or write a to do list for the day ahead.

2. Have a set homework hour each evening
This may sound like one of those ‘great in theory’ ideas but putting aside time to spend on study each evening is a great way to stay on top of work and set a good example to your kids! Make sure you organise a space where you can study without distractions and let everyone know when you’re going to study so that you don’t get disturbed.

3. Create a housework rota
Making sure that everyone in the household has a share in the chores is essential as it will ease the pressure on you. Splitting cooking and washing up duties with partners and children, and making sure it’s not all left to you, means you will have more time to study and less time to worry about the housework not getting done.

4. Take regular breaks
It’s a fact that taking regular breaks when studying, or revising for an exam, helps you retain information better and be more creative. Even if it’s just standing up, stretching and taking your eyes off the computer screen for a couple of minutes – it really can help.

5. Ask for help
There’s nothing worse than feeling that you’re in over your head and that no one understands how you feel. Nipping issues in the bud before they get a chance to spiral out of control and not burying your head in the sand is crucial. Identifying the problem, asking tutors for help and talking to other students, either in online forums or on the telephone will make a huge difference – after all a problem shared is a problem halved.

6). Organise your time
Working, running a house and studying demands a lot of plate spinning! A good way to organise your time, and prevent any plates dropping, is to make a to do list first thing in the morning and tick things off as you go along. This way you will be aware of what needs doing and won’t forget about important deadlines.

7. Set yourself targets
Make sure you set small, realistic targets so you have a clear view of what needs doing and don’t overstretch yourself. Breaking studying down into bite-sized chunks by setting yourself lots of small goals can really help you see how much progress you’re making.

8. Eat plenty of brain food
You are what you eat, so make sure you stock up on lots of wholesome foods that will give you the energy you need to juggle work, study and family life. Pasta is a great option, as not only does it provide tons of slow release energy, it’s also really quick and easy to make – leaving you more time to put your feet up!

9. Find a study buddy
Whether you’re studying online, attending evening classes or university you will come across others in the same position as yourself. Being able to compare notes and talk about your difficulties with someone that really understands may give you the extra push you need to carry on. Pairing up with another student will also provide you with additional support, encouragement and the occasional sanity check!

10. Treat yourself
Keep in mind your reasons for returning to education and make sure each exam or assignment passed is rewarded with time to yourself and special treats. Having your hair done at a nice salon, taking the evening off to sit and watch soap operas or going out with friends can act as great incentives and mile stones.

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