We have just started our 10th intake of our City & Guilds Diploma in Social Media for Business. When we get enquiries about our qualifications, one of the common questions we get asked is “How much studying do I need to do and how do you recommend I fit all the studying around my work, family and everyday commitments?” It’s not something that can be easily answered as everybody’s circumstances are different.
Our qualifications are designed with everyday life in mind and are meant to be completed around your current life commitments. We recommend you are prepared to commit 10 hours a week (less than 2 hours per day) to completing the course. The amount of time will vary from person to person depending on their current knowledge and interest in the material. We recommend the time is spread throughout the week rather than squeezed into 1 day.
We know that it can be difficult to fit in your learning around your daily routine and commitments so we wanted to share two different situations where learning has been fitted in around regular daily life.
Viv’s Study Plan
Sometimes it’s just not possible to fit in everything I’d like to do, including studying. I often make lists of the things I have to do no matter how mundane the task, (work, study, childcare, school run, chores, exercise) then prioritise the essentials and work out where there are potential gaps to study. I can then be realistic about how much study time I can fit in, be it an hour a day or an hour a week.
Sink or swim!
Even with this approach, things often crop-up that can affect your study schedule as part of the daily demands of a busy life. The trick is to not beat yourself up, remember your end goal and resume your studies as soon as you can.
It really helps to get your family on board to support you with your study time; quiet, uninterrupted time away from the kids can make the world of difference. And, if the course you are studying benefits your employer, you may be able to negotiate a few hours a week during your normal working hours to study.
Jonathan’s Study Plan
During my period of needing to study, I had to fit my time in around a demanding full-time job, spending time with my fiance and seeing family and friends.
Learning to juggle
It is a bit of a juggling act but it does help if you prepare and plan your study time into convenient times when you can study with fewer distractions and focus on the task at hand.
As I often worked on weekends and had a day off during the week, I was able to plan my study time when I was at home and my fiancee was at work. I was lucky that I didn’t have to worry about rushing home from work, preparing and eating a meal and then begin studying at 9 in the evening – however it did require a fair bit of self-motivation.
I would create a schedule for each day, which included start time, a few 10-minute breaks a 45-minute lunch break and finish time – similar to a school timetable. This enabled me to have a good 7 hours studying time. Download a schedule here.
As our course is delivered entirely online, learners can access their learning whenever they want. Looking at the access logs, we have seen learners access at 12 o’clock at night as well as 5am in the morning! Some prefer to stay up late at night – others get up an hour earlier in the morning. It is important to find what works for you and your learning style.
The course also enables you to learn from where ever you happen to be. One recent learner started the course when she was in India, continued on moving to Wales (whilst managing the social media for a hotel in Sri Lanka) and is soon to return to India to avoid the British winter. Apart from waiting for Internet access in Wales, her learning continued uninterrupted!
So, whether you take our courses or investigate other courses – there really should be no barrier to developing yourself through learning – other than your own personal motivation.