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Balancing Work, Education, and Family

Balancing Work, Education, and Family
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Posted in category Learners by

Pursuing higher education can be beneficial to your quality of life, but while you’re working your way through school, it can be a struggle to maintain that delicate balance between school, work, and family responsibilities. In today’s blog, we’ll cover some time management strategies and resources to divide up your time and efforts effectively and achieve a good work-life balance for you.

Juggling it All: Work-Life-Study Balance

Higher education can be one of the busiest seasons of life for many people. Making sure you’re putting in your hours at work, attending courses, completing all your homework and having time to study for exams, spending time with your friends and family, and still having time to take care of yourself can feel impossible. In this blog post, we’re outlining several tips and strategies to help make this time in your life more manageable. 

Making the Most of Your Time During Busy Seasons: Time Management Tips for Success

  • Prioritize. Take inventory of everything you need to do (including work, school work, home maintenance, time for family, friends, and yourself) and decide what's most important. Prioritize these tasks and let go of the rest. Maybe during this part of your life, you only have time to include one hobby. Maybe your day is filled with time wasters that should be let go of (these are different for everyone but could be things like checking social media, playing mobile games, stopping for coffee instead of making it at home, etc.). Maybe you're spending a great deal of time with friends at the moment and you'll need to cut back and reallocate some of that time to your school work or to spend more time with your family.
  • Block your schedule. Whether or not you are someone who typically keeps to-do lists or a personal planner, having a schedule for yourself is essential during busy times. It may seem like a lot of work upfront, but maintaining a calendar is the easiest way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. I recommend using a digital calendar, so you can access it on your phone, tablet, or computer at any time, anywhere. When adding items to your calendar start with tasks and events that have set-in-stone dates. This includes things like work hours and events, your class schedule, homework due dates and dates of exams, medical appointments, vacations, and other planned events. Next, block off time for study and homework. Remember to include extra study time leading up to exams and to look at other items on your schedule so you can adequately plan ahead (if you have a project due the week after your camping weekend, you’ll want to schedule more homework time the week before so you don’t have to miss your trip or scramble to complete the project last minute). Finally scheduled time for people. Include time for your partner and other family members, friends, and time for yourself. You may also want to add reminders to your calendar. Things like birthdays, reminders to pay bills, schedule appointments, replace your water filter, etc. are all things that can be easily tracked on your calendar. You don’t want to leave anything off your calendar, as it will be your definitive list for everything you need to get done. 
  • Make time for yourself. When you have many demands on your time, one of the first things to leave your schedule to make room for everything else is self-care. It’s important to remember that you still need to take great care of yourself so that you have plenty of energy and a positive attitude about keeping up with your obligations. Remember to leave time for your hobbies, cooking, exercise, and sleep. While all of these things may seem like easy things to let go of in order to have more time for the rest, you will generally feel a lot better keeping them in your schedule. 
  • Learn to say “no.” You only have so many hours in the day, so it’s important to use your free time wisely. It’s okay to say “no” to activities that aren’t fulfilling to you. You’re not obligated to attend every social gathering, help with your child’s class bake sale, or go with your friend to a movie you’re not into. By declining invitations to partake in tasks and activities you’re not wholeheartedly glad to do, you save yourself that time to be able to give more of yourself to the activities that do matter to you. This is particularly true if you find that your calendar has very little room for time to spend on yourself or with family and friends.
  • Make the most of small things. Find little things that add a lot of quality to your life, and enjoy them regularly. Maybe with your busy schedule, you’re not spending enough time outdoors. Try eating your lunch outside, or using your breaks to go for a short walk. You could also propose meeting your friends for a walk in the park or joining you for an exercise class rather than meeting for coffee or lunch. You can use your commute to listen to audiobooks or podcasts you enjoy. You could also wake up a couple minutes early and enjoy a two-minute meditation. There are lots of small, easy ways to fit in more self-care into even the busiest schedules.
  • Avoid multitasking. Multitasking does not help you accomplish more. You end up spending more time to complete the tasks you’re trying to accomplish than you would if you were tackling them one at a time, giving your complete focus to each task. This applies to free time as well. You’ll get your paper done quicker if you don’t have Netflix going in the background. If you want something to listen to while you work, try a playlist of instrumental music that won’t be distracting to your work. Once you’ve finished your work for the day, you can then use the time you’ve saved to relax without worrying about getting work done at the same time.

How Knowledge to Work Can Help focuses on work-based learning at the individual level. This means you can complete the training you need to receive at your own pace in order to achieve the career you want. Knowledge to Work can support you through your higher education in several ways (all for free), including:

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Pursuing higher education can be beneficial to your quality of life, but while you’re working your way through school, it can be a struggle to maintain that delicate balance between school, work, and family responsibilities.

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