Every day is hectic when you're a single mom with small children. It takes a little extra effort to find the time to get your schoolwork done. Since you probably don't have many parts of your day that are free or could be eliminated from your schedule, it's more about finding small blocks of time that are available within your current schedule. Here are a few tips to help you find those hidden opportunities to get more studying done.
Look for the sweet spots.
Naptime for the kids could be study time for moms. If you have more than one small child, coordinating naptime to be at the same time may be crucial for you.
Playtime can also be an opportunity to get some light studying done. Providing your child with a safe, confined area to play in, where you can supervise and get some important reading done at the same time may prove to be a productive habit.
Sleep is important, but schoolwork is too. While you can't get up early and stay up late every day, these may be good options for you when it's crunch time. And if you just can't sleep, use that time to jump up for a spontaneous study session. A little homework at 3 a.m. may just help you get back to sleep sooner, especially with the relief of knowing you're on top of your schoolwork.
The Student Academic Services at CalPoly suggested that you record lectures so you can take fewer notes, pay more attention in class and review the entire lecture later. Listening to audio recordings of class lectures in the car can be a great way to help you familiarize yourself with coursework while you get your errands done.
Play dates and study breaks.
Instructors usually hand out a syllabus (an outline of what the course will cover and important due dates) at the beginning of a course. This is not just a piece of paper to fold up and tuck away for another day. The syllabus is your chance to make sure deadlines don't catch you by surprise. It's also your chance to find those sweet spots in your schedule to get some serious studying done at opportune times. Does your child have a birthday party to attend a few days before a big exam? Maybe you can use that opportunity to review some flash cards while your child plays with the other kids (and other parents help with supervision). In fact, scheduling some play dates with the children of your friends can be a great way to find the time to study, with a little help in the supervision department. Plan those play dates with study breaks just before your big school assignments are due to make sure you're ready for class.
Decide you're going to do this!
A little bit of determination goes a long way. The day you decided you were going to be a successful student so you can better provide for your family was a big step. However, now that you're in the throws of being a student, it's easy to focus on the negative, and the challenges. It's important to remind yourself regularly of why you're in school. Give yourself pep talks if you need to. Whatever it takes to keep moving forward. One day, after you graduate and begin your new healthcare career, this part of your life will be a memory—a challenging season that you pushed through with sheer determination. So set aside the emotional energy and the time you need to get your schoolwork done. Prioritizing is the best recipe to battle procrastination.
Good luck and study hard! You know it's worth it.