Once you go from just working to being a student and a worker, you realize that you now have two masters. Those two masters will have their own priorities and their own demands for you, but at any given time, they can’t both be boss. That puts you in the middle with the responsibility of managing these two masters, keeping them both happy or letting them rip you in half.

To help you with this tricky tug-o-war, we’ve provided you with these five handy tips for maintaining your work-school balance:

how to balance work and school1. Discuss with your supervisor.

Whether or not you like your supervisor, he needs to know that you are attending class after hours. If they’re a good supervisor, they will make adjustments to the demands they place on you. For instance, they may adjust your schedule to fit your class schedule. Lesser supervisors might not be very happy, but at least they will be aware of your constraints. Do your best to work out expectations with your boss to avoid friction down the road.

2. Find a school close to your work.

One way to limit that friction is by limiting the time you have to spend in classes–including how long it takes you to get to and from class. If at all possible, attend a school that is no more than 30 minutes from your place of employment. This will make it easier for you to get from one to the other, to attend to your work duties or to drop off a term paper.

3. Be conservative with your credit hours.

You might want to blaze right through your courses to get done faster, but you have to be realistic with your time. Don’t take on so many credit hours that you are leaving work five minutes early just to make it to class on time, getting only four hours of sleep at night so that you can complete assignments, and getting into work fifteen minutes late because you slept in. This is a recipe for poor grades and getting fired. Which sort of defeats the purpose of going to school.

4. Set boundaries.

With the competing demands of school and work tugging at you, you have to be the referee. Decide early where work time ends and school time begins, and vice versa. For example, You might want to set a rule that, no matter what, you will not try to sneak in homework assignments while you’re at work. Or you may want to vow not to bring work home to intrude on your studies.

If you don’t set up boundaries, sooner or later you will find you’re being overrun.

5. Apply your learning to your job.

This is the ideal. Use the things you’re learning in your classes to perform your job better. As long as your courses are relevant to your job, it’s one of those rare win-win scenarios. That knowledge, applied in the real world, is cemented in your mind. Meanwhile, at your job, you look like a superhero to your supervisors. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Are you trying to juggle work and school at the same time? What is the hardest part? How have you dealt with these competing demands? Share in the comments below!

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