1. Invest in a good family calendar and an academic diary.
These little treasures can be quite pricey, so for this reason, I always request them for my birthday. I literally write everything on/in both of them, this way the family and I can see what's going on at a quick glance in the kitchen and when I'm out and about I can refer to my diary to make arrangements remotely. Just make sure that anything added to the diary is also added to the calendar and vice versa, otherwise there is a risk of double booking yourself.
2. Write a weekly planner.
A weekly planner basically maps your life and includes everything you do in a week, both academically and personally. From kiddies swimming lessons, to timetabled lectures, everything is on here. And it's no good writing a plan if you have no intention of sticking to it, be disciplined!!
3. Batch cook wherever you possibly can.
Not only does this save you time, but most importantly it will save you money. So next time you make a lasagna, chilli or stew; double, triple or even quadruple the ingredients, before dividing into portions and freezing for whenever.
4. Prepare as much as you can the night before.
There is nothing worse than scrabbling around at stupid o'clock in the morning for a matching pair of socks or a stray homework book. For this reason, I try to do as much as I can the night before. Lay out school uniforms (or get the children to), put school bags in the car and pre-make breakfast. All these little things will make your morning run a lot smoother.
5. Delegate more to your partner and children.
We are not superheroes!! Give yourself a break and let the rest of the household do their fair share. Generally speaking, the children love helping out around the house, especially if you give them plenty of praise. The other half is usually quite hands on if asked too, but don't just expect that things will get done without specific requests.... they are not mind readers!
6. Ask for help.
There will probably come a time when you feel like you just don't know what you're doing, academically or personally. There are a number of people you can talk to at Uni about pretty much anything. The library and study skills can offer great academic support and for those that require spiritual support, a chaplaincy service is also available. The most important thing to remember is that if you don't communicate your problems, they are unlikely to get resolved. The tutors are also friendly, approachable and offer great support bespoke to your needs.
7. Keep your childcare provider on side.
OK so we know that childcare is expensive, but personally I wouldn't be able to do this course without it. There have been numerous occasions when I have had to book the children in at the last minute. My husband and I have a very friendly relationship with the whole childcare team and in return they always try and accommodate our needs.
8. Find an appropriate place to study.
Everyone is different but, as much as I try, I cannot work from home without being distracted by the fridge (or its contents), Philip & Holly or housework. For these reasons I usually drive into Uni and use the library or the breakout area to study. I always factor in a lunch and coffee break, but I get far more done away from the house.
9. Visit your allocated placements as soon as you can.
On most wards the Off-Duty is set 3 months in advance, so there is plenty of time in advance that you can pick up your shifts. Also, being seen to be eager and keen can never be a bad thing, remember one day that placement could be your workplace.
10. Take time out for yourself.
Make no mistake, just because this is at the bottom of the list does not make it any less important. We all need to make time for ourselves. Personally, I find running to be a great stress reliever and take time out most days to run a couple of miles. Otherwise my husband and I try to book weekends away, once every 3 months or so. The children go to my mum's or his and we go and let our hair down with friends or just the two of us.