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How to Strategically Balance Work, Life, and Education in 4 Steps

By Fort Hays State University on October, 1 2020

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There's an ongoing conversation surrounding whether or not a person can do or have it all. While some believe the answer is no, there are many others who believe it's really just about figuring out ways to balance. When you're a student, you might feel compelled to sacrifice financial stability and a social life because of your current educational endeavors. Thankfully, with balance, you can have all three. Consider these four steps to making it happen.

1. Create a List

Visual Lists Help

Cultivate a list of everything that's currently on your plate. This includes tests you need to start studying for, your upcoming shifts at work, and any familial obligations you may have. As you create the list, decide which items are the main priorities. As you figure out your priorities, it will be easier to determine how the other items can fall in line.

Be Realistic

As the list gets longer, consider the items you're willing to cross off. If you've recently enrolled in a graduate degree program, you might have to cross off your weeknight book club with your friends during the semester. If you've been promoted to a new position at work, you'll want to factor in the additional hours you may have to spend at the office and how this will impact your studying sessions. Your list of responsibilities should also include the demands each responsibility has.

Breaking Down the Schedule

Do your best to avoid overcrowding your schedule. In juggling it all, there's a fine line between thriving and experiencing burnout. This is why you'll need to break down your daily schedule into feasible activities. Don't try to cram three hours of studying after you've worked a long shift at work. You're not a machine. If you're tired after work, rest. Schedule your study session earlier in the day to properly absorb the information.

2. Consider What You Can Delegate

Getting Help

When you're learning how to balance work and life, remember that you can't do it all. You need help. If this means that you order pizza once a week to give yourself a break, that's fine. If this means that you're hiring a laundering service to take care of the week's laundry, this will free your time to spend in other areas. Ask friends and family members to step in where they can, too. They want to see you succeed.

3. Focus on One Task at a Time

Its Importance

When you have a task to take care of, focus on it until it's done. In this age of social media and internet updates, it's really easy to get distracted for hours at a time. Since you're already in a fight to achieve work-life balance, you don't want to derail your success by wasting time.

No Multitasking

This also means that you don't want to get into the habit of multitasking. When you multitask, you're impairing your ability to approach each job with excellence. Plus, when you focus on one thing at a time, you'll get through your list at a quicker pace, often with better results.

Fun Fact: A better name for multitasking is task-switching. This actually makes you less productive as switching from task to task eats up more valuable time than sticking with one until it's finished.

4. Consistently Prioritize Self-Care

Filling Your Tank

A car can't run without gas. If you try to let it run without gas, it will break down. You have to put gas in the tank on a consistent basis. The same is true for you. You'll need to fill yourself up on a daily basis.

Activities to Try

Find activities that fill up your own tank. Whether this is a cup of coffee with a good book or exercise at the gym, find a few activities that you can infuse into your schedule that give you life. Even in the midst of a big project at work, studying for finals, and trying to maintain a social life, you need to prioritize yourself and your wellness.

As you begin to comb through work-life balance articles and research the best companies for work-life balance, consider the life you truly desire and what it can look like from a practical standpoint. Think about what you're willing to say yes to. Think about what you're willing to say "not right now" to as well. Remember to believe in your ability to balance your work, life, and educational goals with precision. When you believe it, you're one step closer to achieving it.

 

Fort Hays State University

 


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