How to Balance Work and Trade School

Being a working student is a demanding lifestyle, so prioritizing balance is essential. As you prepare to take on your career goals, you can add some habits to your life that will help you with balancing school and work. If you’re working full time and going to trade school, try these time management techniques.

Trim down your list of priorities

If you’re adding a full course load to your already busy schedule, you will need to make some small changes. An education in a new trade is worth it, and making intentional changes will help you carry through. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Make a list of all the ways you spend your time throughout a typical week. Categorize each one into categories such as the following:
    • Work
    • Entertainment
    • Eating
    • Family/Friends
    • Rest/Sleep
    • Household Duties
    • Travel
  2. Next to each category, estimate how many hours per week you spend in each category. You might be surprised how much time you spend in some.
  3. Create a new Category, “School,” with 0 hours.
  4. Rank the importance of each category (1 being of highest important and 7 being of lowest importance).
  5. Starting with the lowest-ranked category, determine how many hours you can take from that category to add to the new category of School. This step may take some discussion with your family or roommates so they can help you stay on track and fill in if you need to take away some time spent doing household duties.
  6. Continue reducing hours from the low-priority categories until you’ve accumulated enough class and study time for your School category.

Set expectations with your circle of support.

Now that you’ve determined what lifestyle changes you’ll need to make to achieve your goals, it’s time to seek accountability and support from your closest friends and family. Let them know that until you’ve completed your trade school program, you’re trying to balance school and work, and you’ll need to reduce some of the time you spend with them. Your true support system will be eager to help and see you achieve your goals. Let them know exactly what you plan to sacrifice during your time in school, and ask them to understand and hold you accountable.

You should also have a candid conversation with your current managers at work. Let them know that you are pursuing an education, and ask about any schedule changes you’ll need to accommodate your trade school program. A good manager will understand that you’re trying to advance your career and want to help you achieve your goals.

Stay motivated

When you’re taking on a lifestyle change and striving to transform your career, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. When you’re overwhelmed, you’re more likely to procrastinate or spend time worrying about your future. This will get in the way of your progress, and it will accumulate as wasted time, so it’s essential that you avoid stress as much as possible. Read this article to get tips for staying motivated.

Are you ready to make some changes so you can achieve your career goals? Being a working student is something you’ll be proud of once you transform your career.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.