Are you a student living on your own? If so, then you surely have a ton of responsibilities to juggle. Classes. Research papers. Midterms and final exams. Extracurricular activities. Something that remotely resembles a social life. And work. Yikes! The good news is that it is totally possible to have it all. Achieving a little symmetry in your busy life is certainly challenging, but it is definitely doable. Here are some tips to help you attain a healthy work, school and life balance.
Create a customized routine
By creating a routine, your day-to-day tasks will become much easier because you will already know what to expect. Write down your daily and weekly responsibilities and follow that schedule as closely as possible. When you see what you need to do written down in ink, you are much more likely to feel obligated to complete those tasks. Routines and schedules have always been closely associated with success, so find a system that works for you!
Know your ideal study spots
What kind of environment do you need in order to concentrate on getting your schoolwork done? That is a really important factor to determine in order to stay on track. Can you study in silence at home? Or do you prefer the busy buzz of a coffee shop? What about a library where you are surrounded by others, but the atmosphere is still quiet? Do you like to stream background music to get you in the mood to study? Get to know your ideal study zone. From quiet library chatter to loud coffee machines and even various levels of lighting, there are many determining factors that can either positively or negatively affect your ability to get your work done. Try a few different study styles to see which one works for you.
Make (and keep) your health a priority
One of the worst things you can do while trying to balance work and school is to ignore your health. Working hard day in and day out without the proper self-care could land you right where you do not have time to be–in the hospital. Who’s got time to deal with exhaustion, dehydration or any other ailments? You don’t! So focus on your health now while you still have full control. If you are constantly on the go, pack fresh fruits and homemade treats to take with you. This will curb your desire for greasy, fatty fast food. Do your best to squeeze in some exercise, too. As a student, you should have access to an on-campus gym or fitness facility of some sort. Use it, even if it’s just for a quick thirty minute workout here and there. Exercising is known to relieve stress. If you work and attend school, there is no reason you should not be staying fit. Best of all, working out will just help you feel better and more energized overall.
Let everyone know
When friends and family invite you out for a fun night on the town, it will be really tempting to drop all your schoolwork and join them. But you may end up regretting this decision. Instead, be upfront with your loved ones. Let them know that between work and school, you have a pretty full plate. As a result, there will be times you cannot make it to every party, outing and family function. Sure, it’s OK to let loose every once in awhile, but you will need to learn to say no because work and studying are more important priorities. And don’t let your family and friends make you feel guilty for not joining in on the fun. Your work and school responsibilities might take up all of your time now, but it’s only temporary. Hopefully, once your buddies are in the know, they should support you and your commitment to school instead of berate you for not keeping up with your social calendar.
Speak with your employer
Are you adding school to an already existing job? It might be in your best interest to let your boss know of your plans. This is not to get their permission. Instead, you want to share what degree program you are joining, and more importantly, tell them why. This is especially important if your future degree is in the same field in which you currently work. That’s because your studies could be used in the workplace, which will benefit your employer. Your newly honed skills may open up eligibility for a promotion. Also, sharing your plans with your employer is a great way to earn their support. Although you will still be expected to perform your work duties, your boss may be more understanding if he or she knows about your new and demanding responsibilities outside of work. While you should still do everything you can to stick to your schedule and complete your work assignments on time, some employers may exhibit some level of leniency given your full plate.
Balancing work and school will never be easy. But it is time well spent, and the sense of accomplishment you will feel upon completion of your schooling will be worth it.