9 Tips for Achieving the Perfect Work-Life-School Balance
Achieving work-life balance is never easy. At some time or another, everyone struggles with things like prioritization and time management, and, when you’re juggling work, family and education, you’ll undoubtedly need a plan for how to stay on top of it all. Lucky for you, we’ve seen—and helped—thousands of students across our programs successfully balance their busy schedules using the following tactics.
1. Narrow Your Focus
Prioritizing daily tasks is good, but what’s more important is knowing your top-level priorities. What goals matter most in your life right now? Where do you really want to focus your time? Only you can decide these priorities, so ignore other’s expectations and go with your gut. Once you know your top five priorities, cut anything from your life that doesn’t align with or support those priorities.
2. Know Where Your Time Goes
Track how you spend your time for a full week. (Be honest, including how much time you spend on your phone or favorite websites.) Once you know where your time is going, see what you can cut down on or eliminate entirely. For tasks taking up a lot of time, consider how you could achieve the same outcome more efficiently, including delegating or splitting up tasks with family members or friends.
3. Plan Your Days
Planning your days will help you avoid working last-minute late nights, stressed about another project or assignment that snuck up on you. Instead, at work and at home, block off time on your calendar every week for known projects and tasks. Include everything you need to prioritize, from grocery shopping to coursework. If time with friends or family is important, plan regularly recurring activities so that they’re on the calendar too.
Every morning, review and adjust your schedule as needed. Then, as much as you can, hold yourself to that daily schedule. Because it’s already on your calendar, you can plan around family and homework time rather than trying to squeeze those things into a fully packed day.
4. Set Realistic Goals
Set no more than three to five manageable goals to accomplish daily. Trying to do more than you can handle will wear you down and leave you feeling like you constantly need to catch up. When deciding what you can complete in one day, remember past experiences and say no to anything that doesn’t fit with your schedule or your priorities.
5. Don’t Neglect Your Health
Spending time exercising might sound counterintuitive, but regular exercise can give you the mental and physical energy to do more every day. The same goes for getting a full night’s sleep. Being in good health means you can cope better with stress and adversity. Plus, exercise, sleep and a healthy diet can boost your immune system, saving you time by reducing sick days and doctor’s visits.
6. Save Time for Yourself
Do at least one thing every day that you enjoy and look forward to! Save an hour on your calendar for relaxing and having fun. Use it for tv, reading, cooking—whatever makes you happy. Unless there’s an emergency, respect and protect that time. This practice will help you find balance and reset for the coming day.
7. Avoid Multitasking
Giving your full attention to one thing at a time makes you more efficient. During your job or schoolwork, close your email, mute notifications and focus on the task at hand. At home, put away your phone and computer so you can complete necessary tasks and spend time with loved ones.
8. Ask for What You Need
If something is slowing you down at work or school, ask for support or advice. If you don’t understand something, find someone who can help you. If a deadline sounds impossible, talk with someone about it. If your job allows it, ask about working from home or adjusting your schedule to what works best for you. At home, ask family or friends to pitch in and make sure household responsibilities are fairly divided.
9. Take Breaks
Whether you go out of town or stay around the house, try to occasionally get away from work and school entirely. Stepping outside the day-to-day hustle can help you remember what’s important and why you’re working so hard in the first place. Time off can also provide a renewed sense of energy, motivation and drive.
How South University Can Help You
At South University, our online, evening and weekend learning options make it possible for many people with full-time jobs to balance life, work and school. When students need help with time management and prioritization, our academic advisors can offer advice on how to best manage their busy schedule and accomplish their goals. Along with our academic support staff, our faculty are also here to provide students with one-on-one support and guidance as they complete their courses. In addition, The My Life Expert app is available to students looking for resources to help with balancing work, life and school.
For more information about South University, explore our programs or call 1.888.444.3404 today.