DSST Credit by Exam Program By DSST Credit by Exam Program • April 29, 2015

How to Better Balance School, Family and Work as an Online Learner

This is a guest post written by DSST Credit by Exam Program.

If you are an adult today, your days are busy enough without adding classes and studying to your daily routine. You probably feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day for work, family and a social life, and when you imagine juggling classes and homework on top of that - life gets a lot more complicated. So how are you to supposed to study for your degree but still maintain an active social and professional life?

There is no reason to let obstacles, especially those of time and place, keep you from the ultimate goal of furthering your education. Methods like online courses, prior learning assessment and college credit exams offer flexible schedules, allowing you to determine the best time for you to learn and study.

While college in itself is time consuming, the right strategies can help you manage an online program, a social life and meaningful professional career with ease.


Make flexible and firm deadlines for your assignments.

Setting deadlines will help you stay on track and study efficiently for your degree.

  • Flexible deadlines allow some wiggle room for when life gets in the way of studying.
  • Firm deadlines are set in stone and help with prioritization.

Using flexible and firm deadlines will help you prioritize what really needs to get done and can help you adjust your schedule to focus on school work.

Do your hardest tasks first.

When prioritizing school, work, family and home tasks, always do the hardest task first. Easy, quick tasks like doing the dishes or practicing flashcards can often be done while multitasking – a great time saving tactic for nontraditional and distance learners alike.

However, it is a lot harder to multitask for a mentally challenging task; can you imagine writing an essay and doing the dishes at the same time or even reviewing flashcards while doing your taxes?

The trick is to get the hardest tasks out of the way as quick as possible, so if you end up in a crunch for time, you can knock out the easier tasks quickly.


Use study breaks strategically to connect with family and friends.

It is important to give your mind a break while studying. In fact, some studying methods, like the Pomodoro method, are founded on that psychological principle. So why not use quick study breaks to call a friend or go for a run? Physical exercise as a study break is especially good for your brain and, obviously, your fitness.

Here’s a list of quick study breaks that allow you to connect with your family, work and social life:

  • Call your parents, children, friends or coworkers.
  • Take the dog for a walk, or go with a friend.
  • Do a quick chore like taking out the trash or setting the table.
  • Check out your favorite website – even indulge in the gossipy ones, occasionally.
  • Make your meal plans for the week.

Taking your mind off of academics and channeling it towards another aspect of your life allows you to relax your brain and let it recharge while still being productive.

How do you balance school and life as an adult learner? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

DSST Credit by Exam Program

Written by DSST Credit by Exam Program

The nationally recognized DSST program gives students the opportunity to receive college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom as a form of prior learning assessment. Recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT), DSST offers more than 30 exams in diverse college subject areas such as Social Sciences, Math, Applied, Technology, Business, Physical Sciences and Humanities.

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