Studying while children are just starting school

Even after we’ve long left school September heralds a “new school year feel”.

Changing seasons and an end to the summer holidays all bring about a desire for new startsSo for many it’s back to school but not just for the children! Before you pack up your satchel and sharpen your pencils here are a few things for you to consider.

Will it count professionally?

Some professions (like accounting) require their members to keep up to date with professional development in order to keep their licenses current. If this is the case for you check with your membership body for the amount of hours and any evidence they may require.

Are you choosing the right path?

People choose to go back into education for many reasons, and it’s true that the workplace like to have a well educated workforce. But consider all options before you leap. For example if you set aside the time you would need to study (approx 10 – 14 hours a week)  and put that time into starting a business (not to mention what you could spend the tuition money on) you could end up in a more flexible career in a much faster time.

How much time will you actually have?

After dropping off and collecting you’d be surprised at how little time there is left in the day. That’s not to say there isn’t enough to study – there is! But be prepared and really plan your days and weeks well. Be kind but firm with others who may feel like they should be able to pop in any time now that you have so much free time!

Will this training get me closer to my career goal?

Before embarking on your studies make sure you do all the due diligence you can. Is the qualification you’re doing what employers are looking for? Don’t end up at the end of it with debts and no advanced career to pay them off! Which leads to…

Is the financial investment worth it?

If you’re going to end up in debt by studying make sure that the job you get at the end of it has a good enough salary to pay back what you owe in a reasonable time. It may mean a bit of juggling elsewhere, so see what you can postpone and how you can factor in the extra cost to your budget.

Have you got a good support network?

You’re taking on a new challenge, that means (most of the time) that other things may have to give a little. Explain to your nearest and dearest what you are doing and how important it is for you. If you’ll have to study in the evening, for example, make sure that everyone knows you’re unavailable. If you can, get your friends or extended family to help out so that you can have clear, uninterrupted time to study.

If someone offers to help – say yes! If you find juggling it all is becoming too much, look at where you can get additional help in. Whether it’s sharing the school run with another family(ies) or accepting your mum’s offer to do some laundry.

Can you use tech to help manage your time?

Tech can make juggling projects, study and family so much easier. Check out apps such as Evernote, Sanebox,, and IFTTT to make life so much easier.

Most of all, enjoy it!

If the first time round was a blur of freshers week and late assignments, this time will be with fresh perspective and a higher level of commitment and maturity.

Go – show them how it’s done!

Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to tell their business story online and to work in smarter, creative ways on

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