Being a mother is one of the most demanding and rewarding jobs in the world.
Between managing household chores, taking care of the kids, and possibly holding down a job, finding time for studying can be a real challenge.
However, it’s not impossible. In fact, with the right study techniques and strategies, busy mums can make the most of their limited time and achieve their educational goals.
In this article, we will explore some effective study techniques tailored to the unique needs of busy mums – allowing them to maximise productivity in the limited time available. If you can implement them into your academic endeavours, you’ll give yourself every chance of achieving educational success.
The Importance of Education for Mums
Before exploring the different study techniques, it’s worth emphasising why education is significant for mums.
Pursuing education can open up a world of personal and professional opportunities for mums. Here are a few reasons why education is important:
1. Career Advancement
Many mums have aspirations to excel in their careers or switch to more fulfilling jobs. Education can provide the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve these goals.
2. Role Model
Being an educated mum sets a great example for your children. It instils the value of lifelong learning and perseverance.
3. Personal Growth
Education is not just about career prospects. It can also enhance your self-esteem, boost your confidence, and help you develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
4. Financial Security
Education can lead to better job opportunities and higher earning potential, which is particularly important for single mothers or those responsible for the family’s financial well-being.
Having established why education is important for mums, it is worth looking at techniques that can help mums study more effectively in the limited time they have available.
Here are 10 areas they can focus on mastering:
1. Time Management
Time management is critical for anyone – particularly busy mums – looking to make the most of their limited study time.
Make sure you designate specific times in your day for studying which fit around your role as a mother. Whether it’s before your kids wake up in the morning, during their napping time, or once they have gone to bed, having a set schedule will help you stay consistent.
Congruently, you should also identify your most important tasks and take them on first. Adopting the ‘Eat That Frog’ principle will enable you to tackle the most challenging task first thing up when your energy levels and focus are at their peak.
Investing in a planner or using digital tools like calendars and task management apps to organise your study sessions and daily activities is also worthwhile. This will help you visualise your commitments and allocate time for studying.
Additionally, it is important to be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have available. Setting achievable goals will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
2. Create a Dedicated Study Space
Having a designated study space can significantly enhance your productivity. So it is worth setting up a quiet spot to work.
To do this, choose a location in your home where you can concentrate without too many distractions. Communicate with your family to ensure they understand the importance of your study time.
Keep all your study materials, such as textbooks, notebooks, and pens, within easy reach in this space. Having everything you need in one place will enable you to develop a good study flow.
It’s also worth ensuring your study space is comfortable and ergonomically designed. Invest in a good chair and a well-lit desk to reduce discomfort and fatigue during long study sessions.
3. Utilise Technology
Technology can be a valuable ally for busy mums balancing studies with their other responsibilities.
For instance, if you have a bachelor in education, you could consider enrolling in online courses or programs like those offered by UTS Online. They provide flexibility in terms of when and where you study for the degrees and certifications they present.
Additionally, numerous educational apps and websites are designed to help you learn efficiently. They include Duolingo, Khan Academy, and Quizlet, which cover many subjects, and you can use them in short, focused study sessions.
You can also utilise productivity apps like Evernote, Trello, or Microsoft OneNote to organise study materials, take notes and manage tasks.
4. Break It Down
Studying can seem overwhelming, especially when you have limited time. Therefore, breaking down your study sessions into smaller, manageable tasks can make them more achievable.
Instead of aiming to complete an entire chapter in one go, set smaller goals like reading a certain number of pages, completing specific exercises, or studying a particular topic.
One way to achieve this is via the Pomodoro Technique, which advocates studying in shorter, more focused bursts, typically around 25 minutes, followed by a break of around 5 minutes. Doing this can be particularly effective for mums, as it aligns well with short windows of available time.
Before each study session, create a to-do list of tasks you want to accomplish. As you complete each task, check it off the list, which can be very satisfying and motivating.
5. Involve Your Family
Involving your family in your educational journey can create a supportive and encouraging environment.
One of the best ways to do this is by sharing your educational goals with your partner, children and loved ones. If they understand the importance of your studies, they are more likely to be supportive and accommodating.
If your children have homework, consider implementing designated ‘family study time’ when everyone in the household spends time reading or studying together. Doing this sets a positive example for your children and can be a bonding experience.
Don’t be afraid to delegate some household chores and responsibilities to other family members, especially older children, as this will free up more of your time for studying.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Whilst it is easy to underestimate it, self-care is essential for maintaining the energy and focus needed for successful studying. So take steps to not neglect your well-being.
The first thing you should do to achieve this is to get enough sleep. A tired mind is less productive, so ensure you’re getting sufficient rest to stay alert and focused during your study sessions.
At the same time, regular physical activity can boost your energy levels and improve your concentration. Even short, daily walks can make a big difference to your productivity.
You should also make a point of eating healthily, as a balanced diet provides the nutrients your brain needs for optimal functioning. Try to avoid excessive caffeine or sugary snacks, as they can lead to energy crashes.
Finally, stress management techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help you stay calm and focused during busy times.
7. Seek Support
Studying is not something you have to do alone, so don’t hesitate to seek support when you need it.
One good way to find support is by joining a study group of other mums or students pursuing similar goals. Group study sessions can be motivating, provide a sense of community and secure you with the knowledge you are not studying alone.
You could also try participating in online forums or social media groups related to your field of study. These platforms can be great for asking questions, sharing resources and getting advice from experienced individuals.
Additionally, should you really find yourself facing challenges with your coursework, don’t hesitate to contact your professors or instructors. They may offer additional resources or guidance to help you succeed.
8. Embrace Flexibility
As a busy mum, it’s essential to be flexible and adapt to the ever-changing demands of family life. Thankfully, you can embrace flexibility in your study routine in several ways.
Firstly, you should adjust your expectations. It is important to accept that there will be days when your study time is limited or interrupted. Instead of getting frustrated, make the most of the time you have and adjust your expectations accordingly.
You should also be open to alternative study times if your usual study time gets disrupted. This flexibility can be your greatest ally.
Additionally, try to recognise any bonus study opportunities. While waiting for appointments or during your children’s extracurricular activities, you can use that time to review notes or read a few pages of your textbook.
You should also not be afraid to decline additional commitments or invitations if they interfere with your study schedule. After all, setting boundaries is important for your success.
9. Celebrate Your Achievements
Whilst your studies are important, it is also vital to celebrate your milestones and achievements along the way. Just by acknowledging your progress, you can boost your motivation and keep yourself on track.
After reaching a study goal or completing a challenging assignment, treat yourself to something you enjoy, whether it’s a small treat, a relaxing bath, or a night out with friends.
It is also worth maintaining a study journal to track your progress, jot down your accomplishments and reflect on your academic journey. This can serve as a source of inspiration during challenging times.
10. Stay Positive
Maintaining a positive mindset is essential for success in most aspects of life, but especially when juggling multiple responsibilities.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to be kind to yourself and avoid self-criticism. Remember that you’re doing your best in challenging circumstances.
You should also try and visualise success by imagining yourself achieving your educational goals. This simple technique can help you stay motivated and focused on the bigger picture.
Lastly, detach yourself from naysayers and surround yourself with friends and family who encourage and support your educational journey. Their positivity can be infectious and an extra source of motivation and belief.
Balancing motherhood and education can be demanding, but it is entirely possible with the right study techniques and strategies. Remember that your pursuit of education is not only beneficial for you but also sets an excellent example for your children and family.
By incorporating the strategies outlined above into your daily life, you can successfully balance motherhood and education, achieve your goals, and empower yourself for a brighter future.
Remember, you’re not travelling alone on this journey and your efforts will make a lasting impact on both you and your family.