There are many excellent reasons to return to education, even as a busy professional. Whether you are looking to advance your career, pursue new opportunities, or start your own business, executive education can provide the skills, knowledge, and qualifications you need.
However, returning to study can also have its challenges. Most notably, it can be very difficult for busy professionals to balance work, education, and personal commitments.
The good news is, by arming yourself with the right time management tactics and study strategies, it is possible to carve out the time you need for your education and effectively balance work, family, and study.
Time management : how to carve out time for executive education
The right strategies can allow you to find time to study even in the midst of a hectic work schedule and when balancing family commitments.
1. Organisation is key for time management
Staying organised is a fundamental part of good time management. Organising your time strategically will help you utilize your time more effectively, so you will have enough time in the day for your education as well as other commitments.
One of the most effective ways to organise your time is by using a weekly calendar or schedule. Create a detailed weekly calendar for yourself that maps out your commitments and how you will spend your time. You should have one calendar that combines both professional and personal time, as this will help you to plan and balance all parts of your life.
It is also a good idea to colour code your calendar for different types of time blocks (for example, different colors for work, study, and personal life) to have a full and clear overview of your commitments.
2. Give yourself room to breathe
Although strictly scheduling your time can help you to find time to study, it is also important to give yourself some breathing space. You are not a machine, but a human that requires rest — it is essential to remember this when you are scheduling your time! Trying to bounce from one task or commitment to the next will make you tired, stressed, and may even lead to burnout in the long term.
Keep some extra space between tasks for a bit of breathing room. Don’t plan everything back to back, but rather allow some time to relax in between work and study, for example. This will give you much-needed breaks that will allow you to be more productive when you are working or studying.
Additionally, it is not always possible to stick exactly to a pre-planned schedule, so breathing room allows some leeway in case you run behind schedule from time to time.
3. Embrace the power of delegation
It is important to remember that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Balancing work, study, and your personal life can be challenging, so delegating some tasks to others will help you to focus on the most important elements. For example, you can employ a virtual assistant to execute simple admin and take some tedious work off your plate.
Delegation can apply to not only work tasks, but your personal commitments too. For example, you can have that same virtual assistant take care of life tasks such as finding a restaurant for a birthday meal or finding a hairdresser who will cut your hair at home.
Even handing over a few simple private admin tasks can make a big difference by giving you the headspace you need to focus on your studies.
4. Save time by working remotely
Another great way to open up more time in your schedule that you can use for your studies is by working remotely. Working from home or from a nearby co-working space can save you greatly in transport time. Think about how much time you spend on your daily commute. Now imagine spending that time furthering your education.
Working remotely has become much more common since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can look for remote roles or speak to your manager about transitioning to remote work on a full- or part-time basis.
5. Study online
When finding the time for executive education, the type of course you choose is critical. Studying online makes it a lot easier to balance education with work and other commitments for a variety of reasons. In particular, online study offers greater flexibility: many of EDHEC’s classes are available on replay, and communication can be done online via digital tools such as Slack.
Additionally, with EDHEC’s online courses, three quarters of the course can be done outside of fixed times. Students are given a set pace to help them stay organised, but there are no punitive measures if you need a deadline extension. This makes it easy for you to study in your own time, and work around the other tasks you need to do.
How to develop time management skills to balance work and study
The right time management tactics will let you carve out time for executive education, to further your career or help you to launch your own business. These strategies include a detailed, colour-coded calendar, breathing space between tasks, delegation, and working remotely if possible.
Perhaps most importantly of all, you need to choose the right online course that will give you the flexibility you need to balance work, study, and your personal life. Check out EDHEC’s online programme catalogue to find the perfect course for you.