Going to college and working ain’t easy, but it’s possible! Learn how to study after work with these 7 tips for working students.
Whether you work part-time or full-time while in college, mustering up the motivation to study after work is difficult.
And let’s be honest, studying is probably the LAST THING you want to do after work.
It’s certainly more intriguing to curl up on the couch, pig out on some comfort food, and then go to bed.
But you care about your studies and you know how important it is to study so you can earn your degree and hopefully better your future!
If you’re feeling unmotivated to study after work or just can’t seem to find the time to make work and school happen, then this post is for you.
In this blog post, you’ll learn 7 hacks to help you find the time, motivation, and will to study after work.
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1. Make an after work study plan (and stick to it)
Studying after work becomes an after thought if you don’t intentionally plan to do it.
Instead of telling yourself on your drive home from work that you will study, make a plan before work (or right when you get home from work) and write down exactly what school work you plan on tackling when you get home from work.
You can write down your study plan in a:
- Planner/agenda (like this one)
- To-do list notepad (like this one)
- In a Notes application on your phone like EverNote or Keep by Google
- In a digital planner/project manager like ClickUp or Trello
And don’t just simply write down vague tasks like: read Chapter 3 of textbook.
Instead, be very specific such as:
- Read pages 1 – 20 of psychology textbook
- Work on problems 1 – 10 of elementary statistics homework
- Work on English paper rough draft for 1 hour
Writing down specific tasks is less overwhelming mentally and it gives you tangible goal(s) to reach during each after work study session.
2. Give yourself 30-minutes to 1-hour of rest before studying
After working all day you definitely deserve some time to eat, unwind, and relax before hitting the books for the night.
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Give yourself 30 minutes to an hour of rest before starting school work.
But don’t get too carried away binge watching a show on Netflix or scrolling endlessly through Tik Toks.
Instead, set a timer for 1-hour and once it goes off, get moving towards your desk for a few hours of studying.
This does take discipline, but it’s like getting up for your AM alarm clock, you have to make the effort to get up and get moving.
And if you’re having a really hard time doing this, either set a REALLY annoying alarm clock sound or get yourself an alarm clock that starts moving when it goes off and you’re forced to chase it around to turn it off.
3. Use the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time
It can feel overwhelming and demotivating thinking about all the coursework you need to get done after work.
To prevent yourself from avoiding it altogether, try dividing your after work study session into manageable time chunks of 30 to 45 minutes with 10 to 15 minute breaks in between each time chunk.
This is essentially the Pomodoro Technique, which is a life changing time management strategy that helps you be super productive in a short amount of time.
So instead of thinking about your study plan as a never ending to-do list, try thinking it as:
- Read Chapter 3 of economics textbook for 45 minutes
- Take 15 minute break
- Work on Homework 2 for Trigonometry for 45 minutes
- Take 15 minute break
- Work on English paper rough draft for 45 minutes
- Take 15 minute break
You’d be surprised just how much you can get done in 45-minutes with 100% focus and no distractions.
This method can also help if you don’t like sticking with one task for too long, like reading textbook pages.
By changing your task every 30 to 45-minutes, you’ll be more motivated to study and you’ll be able to feel more accomplished because you are tackling assignments from each of your college classes.
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4. Take advantage of time before work
Although this post is about how to study after work, you can’t let the precious time you have before work go unused.
Even getting up 1-hour earlier for work and using that time to study can be a game-changer for your after work study routine.
How you can think of it, if it helps, is studying for 1-hour before work is one less hour you need to study after work.
It can also help you get ahead on harder assignments like cumulative exams or long research papers.
Plus your mind may be fresher in the morning than after a long day at work.
Don’t be afraid to try studying at different times of the day and see what works best for you.
5. Teach someone what you’re learning
It can be hard to stay concentrated while studying after work.
It may also be frustrating having to continue working after work when everyone else in your household is watching Netflix, playing on their phones, or getting to unwind after a long day.
One way to remediate this is to get your family members or roommates involved in your studies by teaching them the materials you are learning.
When you teach others, you are not only studying, but you are also recognizing gaps in your learning.
If you are unable to explain thoroughly what each individual was able to contribute to the field of psychology, that is a red flag that you need to go back and review those materials.
If, for some reason, you live alone, you can still engage in this study technique by:
- Calling or video chatting with a family member or friend and teaching them virtually
- Teaching your plant or pet about what you’re learning (at least they can’t judge you!)
- Simply teaching yourself out loud using a white board
6. Remove all distractions
It can be very easy to get distracted while studying after work.
Especially when you know there are way more fun things you could be doing like watching YouTube, browsing Instagram, playing video games, or chit chatting with your roommates.
However, if you want to make your after work study sessions effective, you need to eliminate or reduce as many distractions as possible.
- Turning off or turning your electronics on airplane mode (that includes your phone!)
- Finding a quiet, but comfortable study space
- Letting whoever you live with know you are studying and need peace and quiet for a few hours
- Ensuring your pets have been taken outside, are comfortable, and entertained while you are studying
- No watching TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. while studying
- Limiting your access to WiFi to study unless truly needed
By doing these things you are maximizing your chances of having a productive study session.
7. Give yourself a clear cut-off time
As a working student, it may seem like you never get a break from work.
Whenever you’re off of work, you’re working on school work. And whenever you’re not at school you’re at your job. Doesn’t seem quite fair, huh?
That’s why it is so important to give yourself a clear cut-off time to stop studying and stop working for the night.
Whether that is at 9 PM, 10 PM, or 11 PM, make a definitive decision to stop studying every night and give yourself time to unwind before bed.
Not only will this help aid in developing a habit of studying after work, but it won’t feel as daunting thinking about studying after work if you know you only need to study, for example, from 6 to 10 PM.
Setting this boundary for yourself will help you better balance full time work and study. Because at the end of the day, you are so much more than just your degree or your job.
Concluding thoughts on studying in college after working all day
Working while going to college is no easy feat.
However, it is possible to make ends meet while getting a solid education at the same time. And I know you are capable of doing it.
In today’s blog post we discussed 7 strategies to help you get motivated and proactive about studying after work.
I hope these tips have inspired you and help you create a better system for studying while working in college. Good luck!
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