Balancing work deadlines whilst committing to revision is no easy task. For those of you sitting your ICAS and ACCA exams, this is no doubt a daily worry.
As part of our study series, we have suggested revision techniques and how to juggle being out on an audit with revision. But what about those all-important work deadlines?
They aren’t going anywhere, no matter what exams you have coming up. Of all the things most likely to knock your study pattern off, it’s these. By the very nature of a deadline, it’s an inflexible date. And it’s important to strike a balance so that neither aspect of your career has to suffer.
Organising your projects in terms of priority – and not just the closeness of the deadline – is a good starting point.
Ask for help
If the deadline is absolutely impossible and cannot be extended, you should strongly request more resources or support to achieve the task – making it more probable that you will meet with expectations. As long as you make it clear that you are a dedicated work, simply looking for a little extra help owing to exams, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Keep a record
You should manage all communications you have regarding the deadline. Any emails or phone calls sent to colleagues or clients should be kept in a file in your inbox (or make notes during calls). This will be an important reference point to you, should any changes be made either to the brief or the due date. It’s also just an effective way of being organised.
If there are meetings or conference calls that you don’t need to be in – don’t. If you are working towards a specific deadline then your time is precious. If you want, you can always ask a colleague to pass you on the minutes of whatever you have missed.
Learning to say no early on in your career can be difficult. But you’ll do your reputation more harm if you over-commit and under-deliver. Make sure that you don’t take on any additional workload unless you’re absolutely sure that it won’t affect existing deadlines or your study time. There is no point in adding more stress to your day-to-day whilst you’re trying to hold down a full-time job and revise. If you are in a position to delegate tasks, then you can absolutely do so.
If you’re really going to struggle to keep up with your workload whilst you’re in the grip of exam fever, tell someone. Your colleagues and managers can’t do anything to help if you don’t ask. It’s important that you let them know when you’ll be less able to stay behind or put in extra work. It’s not being unhelpful, it’s about striking a balance. If you take on too much, either your work or your studying will suffer. Be realistic about what you can achieve.
Whilst there is no easy way to balance working life with the pressure of exams, it’s important that you remember to eat well and rest – looking after yourself is key.
Good luck to all candidates sitting ATT, CTA and ICAS exams in May and ACCA exams in June. To get in touch with me to discuss opportunities in the Accountancy Practice market, click here.