Having a great support system can really make a difference. Here are a few things that really helped me use my support system to its fullest potential.
Don’t Fall for the Guilt Trip
I remember when I was first studying for the exam and living at home with my parents. At times my parents would "guilt" me into doing things instead of studying. And I was a little too eager to oblige them. You probably have heard it too: "It's only for 2 hours" or "We never spend time with you any more" or "But you really should take a break" When I heard those lines, I usually gave in and then my study plan fell apart. This time around, I made it very clear that those lines wouldn't work on me. I knew I could sacrifice anything for just these two months this summer. And if I could do it, my family could too.
Schedule Specific Time for “Fun”
I think what helped me the most was making a schedule including times I’d be studying, the time I could have dinner with my husband and then the time I needed to be back at the library to study the rest of the night. I also let my family and friends know that I was studying and that I would make plans to see them in September after my studies were done or I’d tell them exactly when I would be free (like after 6pm on Saturdays when the library closed).
Relinquish Your “Duties”
My husband has also been a huge help taking on more of the duties/responsibilities that I normally would do. He’s been the one primarily walking the dog, getting the groceries, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house. Without having someone to pick up some of my slack, I don’t think I could have studied as much nor would I been able to concentrate as well. I would have been worried about the dog (or groceries, or dinner or the house). If you don’t have someone that can help with some of these types of responsibilities consider these options:
- hire a dog walker
- pay a neighborhood kid to walk your dog/take care of the lawn/etc
- consider having your groceries delivered using online sites or peapod
- consider having your meals sent to you already prepared or with little prep time.
- drop your laundry off for wash & fold service
Don’t Take Your Work Home with You
I have been blessed that my firm is so supportive of my study plan. They have scheduled my work/jobs/clients so that I do not have to worry about it once I leave for the night to go home and study or leave on a Friday. I’m not worried about checking my emails, I put on an “out of office” message with a specific date when I’ll be back in the office and can address their email. My phone/emails are usually on Do Not Disturb mode while I’m studying so I don’t get distracted with work emails or any personal texts etc.
Hope these tips help to build your support system.