Adult learners who enroll in online degree programs frequently have many other responsibilities to juggle in their daily lives. Of course, there's school. But there's also work ... and a family. Using time management skills may seem like an easy task, but actually doing it could occasionally present challenges.

Sound familiar?

In today's blog, our mission is to find the best ways adult learners can balance school with work and caring for a family. Here are six suggestions:

1. Manage your stress.

Inevitably, there will be times your responsibilities cause stress. The key is how you managethat stress. Don't let challenging situations in school, work and at home get the best of you. Everyone handles stress differently, and we urge our readers to stick with what works for you. For those looking for ideas, possible stress relievers include: physical exercise, breathing exercises, going for a run, organizing your workload and/or talking to a friend or family member about the situation.

2. Create a list and establish deadlines.

To-do lists are great ways to organize and prioritize your tasks. When you create lists, think about breaking down big-picture projects into manageable chunks that you can more effectively accomplish. This will help with procrastination, make you feel less overwhelmed and could increase the quality of your schoolwork.

3. Break out the calendar.

Creating a schedule for those to-do lists you’ve created will help you stay organized and keep track of deadlines. This is time management in motion.

4. Limit distractions.

Efficiency is the key to managing a multitude of responsibilities. Do you find yourself distracted by the television while working on assignments? Are you text-message-happy during the workday? These seemingly small distractions can add up to a big waste of time. For school, turn off the TV and find a quiet place to study. Stick to checking personal email and texts at lunch or during breaks. You’ll be amazed at the time gained back when you eliminate distractions.

5. Make time for yourself.

Don’t forget to take occasional breaks from the commotion. Do what makes you happy. Spend time with your family and kids. Take part in hobbies and interests as a reward after you finish a lengthy assignment or a busy day at work. This will prevent burnout in the long run.

6. Keep your eye on the prize.

Always keep your end goal at the top of your mind. Examples of common end goals among adult learners are a promotion, pay raise, new job, setting an example for family members and self-satisfaction. This will keep you motivated along your academic and professional journeys.

When you start feeling overwhelmed, remember that your hard work will be worth the end result - a college degree and a well-earned bright future.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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