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I am doing my undergraduate while doing a full time job. My course is Computer science. I am also working as a software developer in a private company. I have big responsibilities at my work because more than 6 developers are working under me. At the same time I have to finish my undergraduate study. Normally in our university they conduct lectures for 2 weeks for a subject. Lectures are conducted at evenings. After three weeks from the lectures they give assignments. We must submit assignments on-line. Paper exams are conducted after 20-25 days from the date lectures were finished. I can't stop my work because of my responsibilities. I also got my education loan by turned my salary to a local bank. I am struggling to manage my studies now. I have calculated how many hours I spent on my studies for a month. The result I found was that I am able to study only two or three days. I have missed some assignments because I have started those one day before the submission date.

Can anyone please suggest some tips how I can manage my studies? Since I am a software developer, are there any tips related to project management? So I am able to follow them little quickly.

Important things about me

  1. I am a person who doesn't like to memorize things. Actually I can't memorize. I can only study with practical things. I don't get good marks for written exams. Normally I do get good marks for programming assignments.

  2. I am a little bit perfectionist and also have low level of OCD, but I believe that I am in control of my OCD with the help of a doctor.

  3. I normally make to-do lists, but somehow I can't follow them.

  4. I can't do any routine works. I tried to study every day but I always failed. I don't know how to do work routine.

Thanks in advance

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Why do you feel you still need the degree once you are building a solid career on this field? I find that software companies place far less weight on a degree than most. –  Vic Goldfeld Oct 22 '12 at 14:51

3 Answers 3

I am in a similar situation, working full time as a software developer while completing a degree. Here are the things I've found that work.

Study well, not long. Use Spaced Repetition to memorize things instead of attempting to cram. Try to spend 15 minutes per day (more than that and you hit diminishing returns anyway). I like to use anki for spaced repetition, as someone else has usually put together the study materials for most subjects.

Sleep well the night before an exam. Study briefly immediately before going to sleep (flashcards or some other variety of self-quizzing will work best).

Instead of to-do lists, use a calendar. To-do lists tell you "I need to do this at some point," but at any point in time the default behavior is not doing the things on the to-do list. Calendars force you to pick a specific time to do the tasks, so getting things done is the default behavior.

With regards to the job, delegate what you can. Most jobs are ostensibly 40 hours per week, and so that's probably how your pay is calculated. One week, try limiting yourself to 40 hours and see how much you can get done. It will most likely be almost as much as you get done in the amount of time you usually spend.

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+1 for recommending SRS! It makes memorizing things easy. Forget about forgetting. :) –  Kenrick Chien Nov 29 '12 at 13:04

Some areas that I think can help

Commitment

Other than your job and degree, do you have anything that is a priority in life? (kids, etc). Think about this because it is important to the next step. Can you say you want to commit to finishing your degree? If so, it is just as important to you as your job.

Time management

Taking 1-2 classes at the same time as a full time job is do-able. Try making a list of everything you do for a week to see where your time goes. Then consider everything other than work, eating, sleeping and bathing/grooming. What isn't absolutely necessary. Watching tv, surfing the net, etc are often top candidates that can be eliminated to have more time to study. And sometimes you can do both at the same time. I can eat and read at the same time.

With respect to work, having big responsibilities at work isn't the same thing as spending all your time there. How many hours are you supposed to work? Do you get a lunch break? It's easy to use work as excuse but sometimes getting personal time back is a matter of asking.

Focus

You are going to have to figure out how to make deadlines work for you. It may be a to do list. It may be a big note on the fridge. It may be having a friend call every day after work to tell you to study. But if you are committed to getting your degree, "to do lists don't work for me", can't be an excuse. You'll need to find a way to get something that works.

For inspiration, how do you manage your tasks/deadlines in the office. Having 6 people under you forces some organization to be effective. Are there any techniques you can use from there to organize your degree?

15 minutes a day

Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates provide a nice piece of advice in their Java certification book. Study 15 minutes a day no matter what. Often by 15 minutes in, you 'll be absorbed and continue longer.

Don't let yourself make excuses

I don't like to memorize either. That doesn't make it unnecessary though. Try different things to get better at it. Flash cards might work. Making a poster that you put up in your office might help. (Someone tells me he knows the liter/gallon conversion rate because it is posted on the urinal.) Identifying a problem is good. It is the first step into fixing it.

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-Thanks for your input..I will try based on your advise. –  PST Oct 22 '12 at 6:01

Dear nothing beats self descipline.Give yourself some time to refresh don't put too much pressure on you.Your mind need some refreshment to work properly

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