Balancing the demands of work, school, and life can be difficult, but it is critical to your overall success and mental health. This guide explains the importance of maintaining a proper work-life-school balance, details the potential consequences of not doing so, and provides concrete advice on how to manage your time and responsibilities.
Benefits of a Good Work-Life-School Balance
Finding a good balance between work, life, and school will benefit you personally, professionally, and academically. For example, by devoting sufficient time to sleep and exercise, you will better focus in class and absorb more information from readings and lectures. In turn, adhering to this practice can reduce the amount of time you need to spend studying, making it even easier to balance your academic and professional obligations.
Striking an appropriate balance in these areas is also key to your mental health. For instance, setting aside time for your hobbies, like reading or watching movies, can help lower your stress levels and increase motivation. Socializing with friends or family is also important, as a network of supportive relationships will help you cope with challenges in all areas of your life. Finally, setting clear goals and effectively managing your time may reduce feelings of anxiety and improve the quality of your work.
Impact of Not Maintaining a Good Work-Life-School Balance
By focusing too much on one set of responsibilities in your life, you open up yourself to a variety of negative consequences. For example, many working professionals return to school in order to advance in their careers. But if you neglect the demands of your job in order to devote more time to studying, you may be demoted or even fired. If you do not make sufficient time for your schoolwork, however, you may fall behind in your classes and fail to earn a degree.
Many people who try to juggle both school and work end up sacrificing their personal well-being. They may eat poorly, sleep less, or spend less time with loved ones, which can disastrously affect their physical and mental health. You may find yourself sick more often or unable to deal with feelings of stress and depression. Despite allocating more time overall to school, your academic performance could still suffer as a result.
10 Tips For Establishing a Lasting Work-Life-School Balance
With so many demands on your time, it can be hard to make sure you are paying enough attention to your job, schoolwork, health, and personal relationships. Below, we offer 10 tips to help you establish a positive and sustainable balance between work, life, and school.
Create a schedule and devote blocks of time to your job, schoolwork, and family responsibilities. Update your schedule on a weekly basis, keeping track of which tasks took less or more time than expected. You may also benefit from developing and regularly updating a list of priorities and projects.
Communicate with Family, Friends, and Employers
If you let your partner and other loved ones know about your busy schedule, they may be able to offer additional support. Your friends will also know better when they can expect to see you. Some companies even allow employees to take personal time in order to attend class or study.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
You must be physically healthy in order to do your best work. To start, get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Try to exercise or be active at least three times per week and do your best to maintain a healthy diet.
Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. Mindfulness is the intentional practice of staying in the moment, often through meditation, and it can help reduce stress, anxiety, and some symptoms of depression. Generally, try not to worry about what you are not doing and focus on what you are doing.
Devote Time to Hobbies
If you work hard, you deserve to take the time to enjoy yourself as well. Read a non-academic book, go on a hike with friends, or cook a meal with your family. Little rewards like these will help you stay motivated when the time comes to return to work.
No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot do everything. Avoid taking on new responsibilities by politely saying no. While you may miss out on some opportunities by doing this, remaining focused on your top priorities will allow you to accomplish what you set out to do more quickly.
Lower Your Expectations
For many people who work a full-time job, care for their family, and go to school, perfectionism is the default goal. Remember to be kind to yourself and understand that straight A's may simply not be possible given all of the demands on your time and energy. Think instead about the bigger picture of earning a degree and taking the next step in your career.
Studying for hours on end can lead to burnout. Take small breaks regularly to give your brain a rest and improve your mood. In addition, try to schedule more substantial breaks, like a long weekend or extended vacation, whenever possible.
Breaks are important, but don't use them to put off work that should be done sooner rather than later. By pacing yourself and planning ahead, you will avoid the stress and anxiety of trying to beat a last-minute deadline. Taking time to revise and edit your work also leads to a better finished product.
Ask for Help
Do not try to do everything on your own. Ask your instructor, teaching assistant, or classmates for help figuring out tricky assignments. Ask colleagues at work if they can do you the favor of switching shifts or assisting with a large project. And, most importantly, seek the guidance of a mental health professional if you feel overwhelmed or unable to deal with issues in your life.