How to find time and opportunities for learning while working full time and having a family

During the first years of writing this blog, I used to write quite a lot about home/work balance and finding the time. Several years ago I found my formula and did not change it for a while, so I do not write about it as much as I used to. In this guest post, I invited the author to review the subject of learning from his perspective, as a busy author and journalist,

It can be daunting to think of furthering your studies as an adult, leave alone a busy one. Ideally, juggling between learning, working full time and having a family is overwhelming for pretty much anyone. It takes a good level of planning and prioritization to attend to all the things in life, without letting any of it fall apart. The hardest bit about all of it is the fact that they all demand utmost attention, which is why it seems impossible to achieve.

However, it is possible to find time and opportunities for learning even with a crazy schedule and a big family that hugely relies on you. The good news is that in the long run, you will achieve a great sense of responsibility and self-discipline because the success of all these things will depend on that. Find below how to become the super-human that can juggle between learning, work and running a family:

Utilize Vacation Periods

Depending on which work environment you are in, you can always plan out your year. As for the vacations you anticipate, use them up to the fullest. Other than making this the moment you spend some quality time with your family, it is the most suitable time to find learning opportunities. For one, if you have not yet signed up for a course, you can choose to join other online class takers in enjoying the benefits that come with studying online. The charm with online classes is that you have a lot more flexibility and convenience in picking out the most suitable hours to take a session. Also, you are not strained by the geographical distance that would have you moving from one location to another just to take a class.

The other thing is to concentrate on gathering learning materials throughout the vacation period. Ideally, when you have work off the list for a bit, then you can channel a lot more time to learning and spending time with your family.

Study Together With Your Kids

If you have kids, then you know it makes a lot of sense to spend time with them, because they are only kids for so long. Technically, since you are working in a full-time job, it means you are in the office most of your day. Coming home should mean family time, but since you also have to study, you can make studying a thing for the entire family. For example, you can settle for after dinner, when everyone is ready to get cozy for the night, then you can have everyone gather in the study room for a bit of learning. The kids can do their homework, and your spouse can read a book.

The idea of studying together will bond the family a lot while providing you with an adequate opportunity to learn as much as you can. If you make this a routine, studying will become a culture for your family, which in itself is a bonus. However, do not overwork everyone else at the expense of you catching up with a little more notes. Instead, set a time limit that everyone should fully concentrate on studying.

Take Full Advantage of Your Commute

Since you are working full-time, it is highly unlikely that you are working from home. This means that every day, you have at least 20 minutes to commute. For some, the time may be more. Depending on our means of transport, you can always sneak in some knowledge. If you are driving, you want to be careful not to study when driving; else you land into huge trouble. Instead, download a couple of audiobooks for your textbooks and listen in as you head to work. You can also choose to use flashcards with some of the important study materials that you want to master. The easiest bit, however, is to always record your lecturers in class and listen to the recordings every time you are driving.

If you are using public transportation like the bus or the subway, then studying before you get to work is much easier than for one driving. Ideally, you can read a book, listen to audio messages, among others.

Take advantage of mobile technology

Thanks to technology, so many things can now be done easier and faster than ever before. In finding time to learn, you have to get creative in using what you already have. Just from your smartphone. You can get so much done. Download notes on your gadget, access eBooks for your course work, take pictures, conduct your mini-research, watch videos on YouTube, and download relevant apps, among others.

The advantage of relying on mobile technology you can access is that you can find time to learn from anywhere. During lunch breaks, free hours in the office, as you wait for a client, among other times, are the perfect time to get your reading going.

On another scope, you can use technology to your advantage, with smartphones and other gadgets like laptop, you can swiftly communicate with your lecturers without restrictions of time. If you are not taking an online course, then you can use channels like Skype to reach out to your lecturers about questions you may have, or even to reschedule sessions you may not get to in good time.

Inform your manager about your studies

Sometimes you can save yourself the trouble of having to sneak around for a read by keeping your manager on the loop. You can arrange to section your working hours into the most convenient timing so that you can probably arrive earlier for work and leave early for class, or vice versa.

As a fact, most managers are very supportive of their staff who seek to further their studies, because to some extent, it always is advantageous to the business. That said, notify him or her of your study schedule and how flexible you are. This is also important for when you have to sit for your exams and work. On such days, you can organize for when you can make up for the time you took off your job, to sit for your tests. If you are lucky enough, you may be setting yourself up for a promotion, as soon as you are done with your course work.

Keep your spouse on the loop

Like you would need to inform your manager about your studying, your spouse needs to be fully aware, and more or less the most supportive of all people. This means that your significant other should cover you when it comes to keeping up with some of the house chores as you work and study. For instance, if you are a working and studying mother, your husband can do the dishes for your every couple of days in the week, as well as tuck the children to bed. Whichever the agreement is, your spouse must be aware of how tight your schedule is. Better yet, they can even help you make time to study but running you through some notes on flash cards as you take a shower or prepare breakfast.

Do not overdo it

When you are juggling several things at the same time, it is easy to get yourself too overwhelmed in getting to do everything. The problem with this is that you will burn out very quickly, which will only result in reduced productivity. In the workplace, this may not sit well with your employer. Since the last thing you want to do is lose your job for lagging in delivering tasks, then control yourself that you do not overdo anything.

Remember, managing a family, a full-time job and studying are all a lot of work. Have a plan that subdivides your day into sections in such a way you are doing one thing at a time, and having enough rest while at it. Remember, the entire process will require sacrificing a thing or two that you love. For example, you may not have the time to catch a movie every night or hang out with friends over the weekend because there is so much that needs to get done. Overall, there are two things you cannot sacrifice, and that is, a good night sleep and eating healthy. Because you are tirelessly going to be engaging both your body and brain, you need as much rest as possible and a good diet to go with it.

Multi-task cautiously

Any busy adult trying to get several things done in 24 hours has at one point, or the other had to multi-task. However, when it comes to handling core tasks like working and studying, multi-tasking can go south, that is if it is not impossible to do. What you can do regarding multi-tasking is to take up ‘non-brain’ activities and do them as you conduct the other ‘brain and physical’ activities. For example, you can listen to music as you drive.

In the same way, you can study while doing other things, say, listen to an audio textbook as you cook. This strategy is one that will utilize your sub-conscious brain a lot. With time, you will notice that you have mastery of some topics that you learned as you were multi-tasking, whether it was subconscious or not.


The author of this article is Danny Kariuki. Dancun has been working with writing-challenged clients for over five years now. He offers ghostwriting, ghost editing, coaching, and SEO writing for businesses that want to see their sites at the helm of Google SERPs. His education background in communications and public relations has given him a concrete base from which to approach different topics in various niches. His writing skills can be confirmed on, where he is a top-rated freelance writer. He especially enjoys writing website and blog content for startups and established businesses. Visit –

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