Education is the key to success and there is no end to learning. This is especially evident nowadays when everyone is trying to enhance their higher education attainment in order to make progress career-wise. The labor market has become extremely flooded with labor supply and it’s getting harder to secure a job with just a certificate, diploma or bachelor’s degree. This fact is particularly true in the finance field. It’s also unfortunate that many employers nowadays look for employees who have completed at least a professional course alongside academic, which has left many working individuals with no choice but to go back to class.
However, many people find it a bit tricky to balance study and work, due to a number of individual factors. The following guide provides some valuable insight into how to strike the right balance between work and your CFA study schedule.
1. Be Organized
If you want to balance study and work perfectly, the first thing you should do is to keep your schedule organized. Try and write everything down, keep your files and class work together in an orderly manner so you can easily locate everything. There are many tools that can help you do that, such as calendar, phone reminders, filing systems, and the list goes on. For example, Cramfighter provides many awesome features that help CFA candidates to organize their study schedule. On the free side, Google Calendar is probably the tool everybody should be using.
2. Talk to Your Employer
This is quite important because your employer may not understand how much demanding your study is and may not realize how tricky it is for you to balance your work schedule and learning time. This can be even trickier if your supervisor didn’t have to go through the CFA exams in the past. By engaging with your supervisor/team members and by explaining to everyone your situation, it may help them get an understanding of your difficult schedule. This could earn you more flexible options.
3. Establish Some Sort of Support System
Involving family members, friends, classmates, team members and mentors in your work-study-life is one very effective way to balance your hectic schedule. These people are there to support you and encourage you, helping you realize that your hard work, as well as dedication, is totally worth it. When you have an amazing support system, it allows you to let go of the things that are weighing you down, thereby preventing pent-up stress and frustration work-study-life can bring.
4. Avoid Time Wasters
Avoid wasting time and stay away from the things that waste your time. If you normally get a one-hour lunch break, you could spend only a half of that at the cafeteria and get back to your workstation 30 minutes earlier so you can sign out earlier.
Even though it is important to reserve some time for leisure, there are a few mistakes that you better avoid:
- Don’t begin a new series on Netflix – They are just too good. This will just make you tired and less productive during study time.
- Be careful with Facebook – Minute per minute, it eats up your precious time. If you don’t believe that it can make a difference, have a look at this tool that estimates the amount of time you waste on Facebook.
- Use the tools available – There are some awesome plugins available on your browser and mobile devices. Use them! My personal favorite is “stayfocusd” on Chrome.
Although combining education and employment can prove to be quite challenging, you can make it if you get organized, talk with your employer, establish a good support system with people around you and avoid time wasters. These tips will help you balance study and work, no matter how demanding your job or course is.
For more info, have a look at our 2-month study plan for the CFA level 1 exam.