So you've decided to go to school.  After considering the details to plan your education, you may be concerned about the time it will take to complete your education.

A degree or certificate provides a great opportunity to earn more money, learn a new trade or educational discipline and challenge ourselves to attain greater achievements and personal success.  And while we are excited about adding formal education to our credentials, we first need to redevelop our current lifestyle in order to make time for school.

We broke it down into three factors that affect your time to dedicate to your studies. They include, family, work and personal time. 

Most of us seek higher education to improve our lives with these three components at the forefront of importance.  Clearly, most of us would like an education plan with limited changes affecting any of them.

We developed this plan with that in mind.

DMK Back to School Plan

Each category offers ideas about reorganizing time and money to afford you the opportunity to fit school back into your life with minimal disruptions.


  • If you're on a salary, try to reorganize your day so that you can cut back on the hours you work.  This means working smarter, not harder.
  • Work from home in order to save on the time to commute to and from work.
  • Get a new job that pays more or has different hours. Sometimes changing when you do something can be more productive and profitable.
  • If you're working at a job that requires physical labor, you may want to get a new job where less physical exertion is expected so that you can maintain your energy to keep up with school, work and family.
  • Do your reading or studying at lunch or on your breaks.
  • Get a job that allows for a lot of down time where you may be able to work on your assignments while at work.

If you're thinking some of this is totally undoable, try thinking a bit outside your comfort zone.  In other words, challenge yourself to make changes to accommodate your education.  You may not need to go to extremes, but consider reasonable sacrifices that you'll be able to live with until your education program is complete.  


  • Get a live-in nanny in place of outside daycare. You can offer room & board and a reasonable stipend. You'll save on commute time and possibly pay less than a typical daycare center. The nanny would still have set hours, but with optional availability when you have important assignments/studying and need extra childcare.
  • Ask your former spouse if he/she can work with you on swapping days and weekends (with reasonable notice) based on your coursework and assignments as they develop.
  • Ask grandparents and teen sitters if they can help out for future care, as needed.  They are both usually more affordable and available with less notice.
  • Determine if your current housing situation could be downsized or household expenses could be reduced to cut back on earnings/time spent at your current job.  This is perhaps the most difficult because it requires a sacrifice of the comforts of today for the prospect of a better tomorrow.  Reach outside of your comfort zone to come up with some doable changes that could help.
  • Try renting out a room or basement in your home or look into details about Airbnb® to allow you to cut back on work to fit schooling into your schedule. It's a passive income (meaning it requires very little labor on your part) which frees your time up for school. As always make sure you have done the proper procedures to ensure the safety and security of your home and family.
  • Realize cost saving measures on things like insurance (get new quotes for auto and home insurance), food (savings apps or coupons), fuel (try carpooling or public transit).  Again, this helps reduce expenses so that you can work less when your education demands pick-up.

Personal Time

  • Locate educational reading material in an audio format so that you can listen while working-out or doing household chores.
  • Get up an hour earlier 3x's a week for exercise to avoid being too tired to keep fit and active. Being overscheduled is one of the easiest ways to give up on physical fitness. This way, it's a time that you're usually most alert and the time should rarely interfere with your work/school/family schedule.
  • Let your friends know that you're beginning a new education program and would appreciate any support or advice they can give.  Let them know in advance that with everything going on in your life right now, you may not be as available, but to still keep you in the loop.  
  • Limit optional social obligations and volunteer work.  Don't try be a supermom or dad.  Taking on too much never really works out the way we want.
  • Once your classes start, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and consumed by school.  It's okay to let the house get messy in lieu of keeping up with kids and work as much as possible.  Things will get easier, but will always be challenging until your graduate.  It's important to know when you have too much on your plate and to re-organize or employ some strategies that can relieve your burden when needed.


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