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The work, study and family balance: Cram sessions, nerves and finding time

26 July, 2016Gabbi Stopp

Gabbi Stopp is the Head of Employee Share Ownership at ifs ProShare, and is currently studying for a Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA®). Gabbi is also a wife, and mother to a three-year-old boy.

In this blog series, Gabbi takes an honest look at what it's like to study, while working and managing family commitments.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

So this week the scales have tipped, with a resounding ‘clunk’, from relative equilibrium to full-on overwhelming not-enough-hours-in-the-day imbalance. It’s not one big thing that’s the cause, more a relentless drip-drip-drip of smaller things eating away my time. I need to get a handle on this – I’m starting to wake up well before my 6am alarm, brain whirring away and flitting from worries about work to worries about my studies and personal matters. A wise friend of mine told me earlier in the week that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and I have to cling to that piece of advice right now or I shall lose all perspective!

Gabbi Stopp The Bank Holiday should present me with an extra day in which to get some more study done. I know, rationally, that I will feel much better as a result, but there is a quiet but insistent irrational little voice telling me to go off and do something more fun. Clearly I will have to use every trick in the motivational handbook to keep focussed on my studies this weekend.

I’ve sat enough exams in my time to realise that some of this is down to pre-exam nerves starting to kick in, as the date approaches.  I am something of a worrier, so none of this is a surprise. But it’s still worry, right? And it still steals away my ability to be ‘in the moment’ and present, rather than pre-occupied with trying to cram in a little extra bit of study when my toddler is competing for my attention during the dreaded ‘witching hour’ before bedtime. So the dilemma becomes one of quantity over quality of study time. Is ‘little and often’ always the right tactic? I don’t think it is, not for me right now, anyway.

Read Gabbi's past posts or find out more about DipFA