Avoid part-time study burnout

Written by Emilie Brunet on September 28, 2023

Don’t let lack of preparation be the reason you burnout.

Whether you’re taking a continuing education course or you’re starting our part-time bootcamp on October 10 (only a few spots left to register!), returning to study part-time isn’t always easy.

Let’s talk about how you can prep for going back to part-time classes to avoid burnout!

Coping with Context Switching

The hardest part of studying part-time is the context switching that comes with it.

Context switching is when we are constantly shifting our focus between different tasks, apps or projects.

With full-time studying, you’re completely immersed in learning for the majority of your time. This makes it easier to drop into the work you’re doing and avoid other distractions.

With part-time studying, you might find yourself context switching. Switching back and forth between work and studying, especially if work is the primary part of your day can feel jarring.

Despite what we used to think, more and more studies are coming out showing that multitasking is actually cutting into our productivity. Most of us are our most productive when we are unitasking (ie, only doing one thing at a time).

Being in school, plus working full-time plus juggling a personal life and anything else we have going on, can be a recipe for disaster because we are just more productive when we simplify and focus.

But unfortunately, quitting your job and committing to studying full-time isn’t a reality for most of us.

And besides, part-time studying comes with it’s own set of advantages.

Extending the period of time that you are learning something gives you more time to practice and absorb the material. Which can often lead to a deeper understanding of the material.

But that being said, it’s important to take the time to plan for the hiccups that can come with context switching.

Choose a learning strategy

When discussing part-time learning strategies, we can look at these two different approaches:

  1. Exposing yourself to the material for a bit of time everyday
  2. Creating designated days throughout the week dedicated to learning

A little bit everyday

In this strategy, in addition to spending your time in class, you also dedicate an additional 20-30 minutes daily to review material and do some practice exercises.

Pro: Studies show that a slow and steady approach to learning increases your ability to absorb the material

Con: Context switching: ie, shifting your focus in and out of multiple things in a day can lead to burnout, stress and more time wasted.

Designated study days

In this strategy, you only look at your material a few days a week, but for longer periods of time.

Pro: Dedicating a larger chunk of time can allow you to get in a “flow state” and focus on absorbing the material better

Con: Requires cutting out a larger portion of your day to dedicate to studying

Choose what works best for you

When figuring out a learning strategy, it’s good to consider these questions:

Finding the answers to these questions might require some trial and error (and sometimes what works one week doesn’t work the next week).

Either way, planning your study and learning schedule for the week can be helpful in ensuring that you are dedicating enough time to the material, while not endlessly stressing out about “how you should really be studying…”

Whatever plan you go with, remember to take 1 day off a week from looking at the material. Give yourself a “brain break”.

Intentional (ie, non-procrastination) time to disconnect allows you to refresh and reenergize for the next time you approach the material and can minimize the burnout and resentment you feel around studying.

Tell people about it

Going back to school often comes with a lifestyle change.

You often have to reorganize your schedule (as we saw above) and it means less time dedicated to other areas of your life.

When making any type of change, informing friends and family is integral to your success.

Your community can be helpful for a number of reasons:

  1. Reminding you of your “why” and re-motivating you if you start feeling down or come up against a wall
  2. Having someone to support you if things start to get tough
  3. Asking you questions about the material you’re learning to keep it top of mind and help you practice
  4. Supporting you by finding other ways to socialize / reschedule social activities to accommodate your new learning schedule

Telling your friends and family that you’re taking a course and that it may require some changes to your life can lead to better outcomes!

Lean into the parts you like, don’t stress too much over the parts you don’t

You can’t be good at everything.

Sorry, let me say that again for the people perfectionists in the back: you cannot be good at everything!

A lot of us have been convinced that the only way to do something is to do it perfectly. We find ourselves wanting to be the absolute best at everything we try.

There’s a common phrase that goes, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

Well, controversial opinion time: Sometimes, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth just getting it done.

Instead of taking the approach to learning that requires you to absorb all the material, get 100% on every assignment and be the most attentive in class, instead make your life easier by doing that for the parts that you actually enjoy.

Now I’m not saying don’t try to be good at the other parts, I’m just saying let go of perfectionist mentality. Do what you can, and then move on.

We as humans tend to be much better at being good at things we actually like doing. So lean into the parts you like and do what you can for the parts that don’t tickle your fancy.

Don’t forget about basic human necessities

I promise you that your part-time studies are going to feel 100x worse if in their pursuit you find yourself:

Yes, your time will be more filled up, but finding ways to continue to get those important needs met is crucial to your success.

Learning should be fun! Yes, it can be challenging but it is also joyful.

If you find yourself letting the basic human necessities slide, you’ll be miserable in no time.

If you’re miserable, then you’re likely to stop your schooling, or worse, finish your schooling but be unbelievably burnt out and resentful.

So before you start your part-time learning, take the time to prep:

Planning ahead to make sure you’re getting your basic needs met throughout your part-time studies will ensure that you finish your program, course, or bootcamp while avoiding burnout, hopefully you’ll remember that time as one that filled you with joy and energy — not just drained your soul!


When prepping for part-time studies make sure that you:

  1. Let your friends and family know: They can support you in the journey
  2. Do some trial and error to determine how study best
  3. Focus on dedicating the most time and energy into the parts that you like: This will give you motivation to keep going
  4. Plan for the schedule change and don’t miss out on scheduling for your basic human neccessities

How do you prepare for your part-time studies?

Let us know below ⬇️

About the author

Hey, I'm Emilie 👋🏻

I'm the People & Culture Manager at Journey Education. I have always had a passion for writing, organization and finding creative solutions. I aim to be personable, empathetic and compassionate and believe that kindness can go along way in both business and life.

Having worked and organized with anti-capitalist, feminist and queer organizations, I strongly believe that EVERYONE deserves, not just a living wage, but a thriving wage and that it should be the priority of every business to create an inclusive, caring and diverse work environment that doesn't just ensures the work happens, but allows people to be people while the work is happening!

My approach to everything I do reflects my training in trauma-informed practices, active listening and harm reduction as well as my interest in understand the way people work, behave and exist as their full human self. I want to create safer spaces for people to explore, create and excel in a supportive environment - whether that's in life or at work.