At a Glance: Need your family to help when school gets busy? Ask them to become your productivity team so you can delegate household duties.
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Finding time for your studies with everything else you have going on in life is a balancing act, for sure. So rather than attempting to do it all on your own, try accepting a little help from those closest to you: your family.

To start, have a family meeting. Remind them why you’re going to school and what you hope it will mean for all of you in the future. Let them know that it’s a lot of work, and that you could use their help. Then pick a strategy to try out, together.

Start a family project hour

Instead of struggling to find ways to escape and study solo — then feeling guilty about skimping on quality family time — combine the two with regularly scheduled whole-family project sessions. You study, and everybody else works independently on projects of their own.

For younger children, this could mean drawing, paging through books or completing a puzzle. Older kids can tackle homework or a hobby. Your spouse might want to dig into some yard work or housecleaning. Have them decide beforehand what they’ll do and gather everything needed. Remove all distractions, and set a timer for 30 minutes or longer. Indulge in a 10-minute snack or dance party break together, then repeat.

Make them your productivity team

Pinpoint one or two things that make it hard for you to get your schoolwork done and together brainstorm ways they can help. If the kids are frequent interrupters, for instance, maybe they could draw you a “do not disturb” sign and agree to a reward system for obeying it.

If housework steals too much study time, decide upon the jobs others can do instead, and make a chart to keep them honest. If you’re too easily distracted, ask them to play taskmaster and remind you to get back to work when they catch you procrastinating. Try your tactic for a week or two, and then regroup and either adjust to make it work or target a new trouble spot.

Plan a reward

Decide on a proper celebration for the big graduation goal, such as an overnight at a nearby waterpark or a big backyard barbecue party. Something the whole family will enjoy and can get excited to work toward. Mark the reward date on a calendar and display it prominently so everyone can track and cheer on your progress, for motivation’s sake. Consider adding mini-goals and corresponding rewards along the way — think movie night or your favorite dinner out when you complete a class.

Getting the whole family on board with the grand goal of earning your degree makes everyone feel like an important part of the process. It helps them better understand the sacrifice and work required to reach your goals and how good it feels to support those you love in doing just that.

Need more than an hour? Rather than extending one activity, try a couple of these tactics back-to-back with a snack break in between to better your chances of keeping the kids fully engaged. Translation: more time for you to focus on your studies.

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