Work life balance – Finding a balance between jobs and school work

Robert College Students in the Forum

Robert College Students in the Forum

Work life balance, are you kidding? There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day! Well, we can complain all we want about long hours and grueling assignments, but finding a balance between work, school work and life is a task that you’ll have to master. The sooner you figure it out, the better. Here are some tips and tools to get you started.

Finding a balance

Can’t get motivated to find a routine that works for you? Think about the cost of not doing it. Your health, relationships and grades can all suffer if you aren’t able to get your act together and manage your time.

The easy way out is to just quit your job. That decision can cost you in more than cash. In a July 11, 2013, post for Teen Observer, titled “The challenge for some college students: learning to balance work and homework,” Gaby Tefel explained the value of working through the stories of two college students.

Tefel recounted her findings, “While Barquero and Powell agree they would have likely done better in school if had they not held a job, both still recommend working in school[…]. Felicia Parks, a career advisor at American University’s School of Communication, said having a job can pay off when students begin looking for full-time work.”

Get the right mind set

Like an athlete preparing for a decathlon, working college students need to adopt the right frame of mind for success. In an article for Monster College titled, “How to Balance School and a Full Time Job,” Steve Berman offered words of wisdom.

First, treat your school work like a job. “[…]don’t be tempted to skip out because of an unforeseen distraction. It’s really true that a large part of success is showing up. Miss one class and it’ll be easier to miss another. And another…” Berman advised.

A good way to follow this rule is to work out your weekly schedule in advance. First, write in all of your school commitments such as classes, study groups, exams and due dates for assignments. Then, by working backwards from the due dates, you can plan when and for how long you’ll need to block out time for homework and study time.

Make time for you

It’s also important to block out time for relaxation and blowing off steam. After all, we’re looking for a balance, right? Kelci Lynn Lucier explained the value of allocating your time in her October 11, 2011, post for US News Education titled, “Learn to Manage Your Time in College.”

According to Lucier, “Doing things that make your personal time more enjoyable — and not totally focused on school — can actually improve your productivity when working on projects later.”

But you have to make sure that you don’t overdo it on the personal time. “Learning to say ‘No’ or ‘I have to go start studying now’ can be one of the best skills you learn in college when it comes to managing your time well,” Lucier added.

Plan to make life easier

It won’t be easy spreading your precious time between work, school and personal time, but there are ways to make it less stressful. The folks at Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, North Carolina have provided a set of mini-lessons and a weekly scheduling calendar at their website titled “Time Management for College Students.”

When scheduling activities on your calendar you’ll number them as follows:

1- important and urgent

2- important but not urgent

3- not important but urgent

4- not important not urgent

Urgent means that the deadline is near and not urgent means that the deadline is farther in the future. When faced with a choice between conflicting activities, you’ll know which one to focus on first based on its level of urgency.

Practical advice is included, such as this suggestion for dealing with unforeseen changes in plans.

“What you need to do is PRIORITIZE. In other words, you need to determine the importance and urgency of each activity and use this information to revise your schedule (week’s plan). In some cases, you may decide to postpone an activity that is not urgent, or perhaps you will spend less time on an activity that is not so important.”

There’s an app for that

Need help getting organized? Check out these handy apps.

  • iProcrastinate
  • Outliner
  • Quizlet
  • iStudiez Pro
  • Wunderlist

What tips and tricks do you have for managing your time? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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