Balancing School and Personal Learning

Given that I’m back in College again one of the difficulties I run into is balancing assignments, family time, studying for certifications, and hobbies. I feel a strong desire to continue studying for more certifications (such as nabbing that Security+ that I want) but there almost always seems to be another more pressing matter. That can be a frustrating process when you really want to tackle a chapter or 2 of a Sec+ book when instead there is a presentation coming up that really needs to be done. Double frustrating if it doesn’t feel as productive as if you were doing your own thing.

However it’s probably more important than initially thought to hunker down and work on the assignments with known due dates, in fact it is probably a more similar to what I may experience in the work place. When I finally wander myself into the workforce again the reality is that there will always be several “fun” projects on the go and several “tasks” that need to be completed. Pushing off those tasks for the fun projects is a recipe for disaster when it comes to the career and the sanity of your manager. There is a certain level of discipline that can be gained by learning to sit down, do tasks you don’t want to do, but complete them to a high degree of competence and put in appropriate effort to succeed. Putting in half the effort means that the time you did invest was wasted on laziness. It’s better to invest the time and effort once and avoid wasting everyone’s time.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for fun things still! One of the strategies I try to utilize is to cut out a little bit of time per day for personal projects or certification study, it might not be a lot of time, but it’s important to at least spend a little bit of time on personal tasks. That also needs to be balanced with the risk of burning out. If you spend 8 hours studying for school, if you force yourself to study another 2 hours for a certification you’re probably not going to retain much of the information. In those cases it’s better to rest the brain and tackle those personal goals another day.

At the end of the day it’s just a balancing of priorities.

Thanks for reading!

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