Most adults struggle to balance work commitments with family obligations; add in a return to school and free time can quickly become the most expensive luxury in your life.

Metro asked on-the-ground experts for tips on calibrating a crazy schedule.

Guillermo Acosta, the director of professional and continuing education at Humber College’s business school, says his students sometimes struggle to keep afloat.

He reminds them to accept that adding continuing education will make life harried for a period, but to keep their eye on the prize.

Keep in mind that it’s for a clear goal with a clear end date.

“When you see that what you are learning in a classroom can be applied the following day in your job, more than a burden, it becomes a help,” he says.

He also reminds students they can adjust how many classes they do at once, depending on how quickly they want to complete their studies.

If the stress would be too great, take it one course at a time over a longer period.

Christie Schultz, the executive director of the learning engagement office at the University of Alberta, has taken continuing education courses herself.

She advises students with families to involve their spouses and children to make it a shared experience, rather than just one parent disappearing one night a week.

“Communicate what your schedule is going to be like and when your deadlines are. It can really be helpful,” she says. “Continuing education, as it becomes part of our life, becomes a family project.”

Schultz says it will be an extra burden on an already packed schedule for many people, but students should remember it is temporary and for the good of the entire family.

“It can make the program fun and exciting for the whole family. It also gives an opportunity to celebrate together at the end of the course or program,” she says.