Work hard, play hard | How to study AND work full-time

Starting my diploma at the IDM

As some of you will be aware, during December I was working on my first assignment for my Diploma in Digital Marketing, which I submitted just a week ago. The WORST possible time to doing extra work on top of your day job, with Christmas parties, drinks and festive activities being planned. It isn’t easy writing 4,000 words as well as working 8 hours a day in the office, so I wanted to share some things that I found useful incase anyone else is thinking of doing the same, currently struggling or planning to do an extra qualification in the future…

Cute highlighters
Funky Highlighters and Stationery can make working much nicer

Know when you work best; I find I’m much better at working earlier in the morning. So I planned to get up early when I could, head to work and find a quiet spot to work between 8-9am on my assignment. If you work better late at night, then make the most of this too.

Plan plan plan; planning helps you manage your time much better, especially so your life doesn’t become consumed by your work and you do have time to spend with your friends/family/boy/girlfriend. Try using a calendar on your laptop/email or draw one out on a4 pieces so you can see the full amount of time you have before your deadline(s).

Calendar planning work
Plan when you’re going to work and have fun

Regular breaks; research shows that our average attention span is just 5minutes. No wonder we get bored when writing essays and working on long pieces of work. Give yourself a deadline to have a break, perhaps a coffee (and a cake) or a walk to get your interest going again.

Cake and my laptop break

Get a support buddy; if there is someone working on the same course as you, even better. If not, don’t despair, you just need a motivational colleague or friend who will encourage you when you’re not feeling inspired. Someone that can say “c’mon you can do it”, even when you think that you can’t.

Plan things to look forward to; working on weekends becomes the norm when writing assignments and projects; not something everyone is used to. If you plan to work the majority of Saturday, plan something fun with friends in the evening so you’ve got activities to look forward to, plus it’ll act as a great reward for all that hard work during the day.

Winter wonderland
Winter Wonderland – something I had to look forward to one Saturday evening

Grammar & Spell check; ask a friend to check your work before you submit it. Spelling mistakes, sentences that don’t make sense and US versions of words in the UK aren’t ideal. A sense check is key too, does it flow, have you got any missing words or references?

Know your deadline; might seem obvious but there’s nothing worse than an assignment deadline sneaking up on you and then a few days of panicked and stressed work. Plan upto the point of your deadline, adding in those breaks and fun activities too. If you can do this well you’ll be much more relaxed when having to click “send” or “upload” for that final submission!

Have you worked on a qualification alongside your job? Have you got any tips? 


  1. January 6, 2016 / 12:05 pm

    Great tips! I remember studying for my A Levels surrounded by flashcards and sheets of highlighted paper, and it definitely helped it go in better than just reading the textbooks! Did you do the qualification online? I'm looking to study for a digital marketing/ social media marketing course but I don't have a clue where to look!

  2. January 11, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    Hey there, thank you – hope it helps when you find something! This is an IDM course which I'm doing during some face to face sessions but my colleague is doing it online. Take a look at General Assembly as well because they have some reasonably priced stuff online and f2f!

    Hope that helps 🙂

    Sarah x

  3. January 16, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    This is super relatable, great advice! I don't have a job..been looking for months but as soon as I get one ill definitely be taking these on board! X

    Ever wanted to know hoe to style 70s bell bottoms? Head over to  // BLOGLOVIN

  4. January 16, 2016 / 8:07 pm

    Thanks! Good luck on the job hunt 🙂

    Will check out your link now!

    Sarah x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: