We live in a world that has more opportunities than ever before. However, these opportunities increase competition and challenges to get ahead.
If you’ve decided that it’s time for you to work smart and get ahead through study – well done!
Before you get started though, read through the following guide on how to make sure you pick the right program for you and set yourself up for success, no matter how busy you are!
- Understand what is and isn’t negotiable.
No matter who you are or what you do, certain things in your life will simply be more important than others.
If you’re considering committing to an educational program, it’s imperative that you identify those things in your life that can make way for the extra time and effort that’s going to be required of you. This will vary between individuals but may include things like watching TV, going out for dinner or maybe a hobby that you’re not very interested in.
It’s equally imperative to identify those things that simply can’t be eliminated. Once again, these things will vary but may include things like: quality time with the family, exercise and sleep!
Once you’ve determined what falls under each of these categories, you can then get a good idea on the amount of time and energy you can dedicate to study.
Set aside some time with a pad and pen and simply list the priorities in categories. Or you can track your daily activities and after a week or so conduct a ‘time audit’ to determine where you may be able to free up some time.
- Be realistic
Taking on study at any point in your life is a big deal.
If you are realistic with yourself and what it is you expect to achieve, you can help to reduce the pressure you put on yourself. It will also ensure that you don’t set yourself up for failure and, in turn, create happier and better work.
Based on the things you have decided can and can’t make way for study, give yourself some realistic targets you can hit and then find a program that will work with you to achieve those goals.
In these targets, consider your personal and professional goals and the things you feel you need to do in order to get closer to achieving them.
Finding a program that is flexible and allows you to adjust if and when you need to should be a priority to ensure you never put yourself under too much pressure.
At some point or another, your study will spill over into other points of your life – it’s to be expected and it’s OK.
What you don’t want to do is keep it to yourself, leaving everyone guessing why it is that you may be a little more tired or distracted than normal.
Education is something to be proud of no matter what stage of life you’re in, therefore communicating where you’re at with others is nothing to hide. Not only will they appreciate having a better understanding of you, they’ll be more likely to give you the support and encouragement you need if things ever get a little overwhelming.
- Make it worthwhile
Making the investment in education is always a good one. However, to make it a great one, find a program that is in line with what you’re passionate about and your various life goals.
Give yourself the time to identify what would make a meaningful difference, both now and in the future, and pick a course that will contribute.
And if you don’t know exactly what that is, find a course that will let you change as you need to whilst recognising whatever efforts you’ve put in.
A great exercise to do here is one of personal visioning. Set aside some time in a space you enjoy being and really think about where it is you want to be in 10 years. Then, start working backwards to identify those things you need to achieve in order to get there.
Based on these things, find the course that works best!
- Set Yourself Up for Success
If you’re going to study, you may as well do it properly.
Make sure that you have all the support, resources and motivation that you need as you get started.
If you can’t get all of this yourself, make sure that the course you undertake can.
Find a system that works for you that will help you stay on top of all your deadlines and responsibilities. Speak with your family and friends so they know what to expect. Build a support network around you that you can call on for guidance and support, if and when you need it.
If you don’t have a mentor yet, find one that you respect and can help you go in the direction you choose to go.