Whether you’re just starting your college experience or going back for an advanced degree later in life, it’s important to learn how to balance your school and work life. Investing in yourself through education is a great step on your path towards a dream career.
But someone has to pay the rent!
Crafting a well-balanced life is possible even as a full-time student with a full-time job (despite the obvious logical fallacies given the meaning of the word “full-time”). To help you organize your schedule and maintain healthy boundaries, we compiled a list of five tips for leading a balanced, productive life—in the boardroom or the classroom.
Tip #1: Choose A Flexible Job
With so much on your plate, it’s smart to look for jobs that you can tailor to your busiest periods. This way, you have room to maneuver if you need to finish a term paper or study for a big exam. Look for jobs with varying hours or businesses open seven days a week so you have more options for shifts.
Better yet, try to land a remote or freelance job. This way, you can tailor your work schedule to fit your study schedule and you’ll completely eliminate the time wasted on a commute.
Tip #2 Communicate with Your Boss and Teachers
Balancing school and work requires a lot of communication with authority figures. When everyone is on the same page about your schedule and needs, then completing assignments and performing well at work will be smooth sailing.
Don’t wait until the middle of the semester to talk to your professors! Inform them about any work obligations that might influence class as soon as possible. Similarly, let your boss know you’re a student and clearly outline how this might affect your availability for work.
Tip #3: Organize Your Schedule
If you don’t have a clear grasp of your day-to-day obligations and appointments, then you’ll be inefficient at completing tasks for school and for work.
Here are a few simple ways to stay organized no matter how hectic life gets:
- Write it down – For some, an old-fashioned paper planner is the best way to organize your time. Keep to-do lists and appointments all in the same place—color-coordinated for bonus points (and maybe a gold star or two).
- Use an app – For those with a more tech-oriented tendency, consider upgrading to an organization app on your phone or device. You might not always remember to toss your planner in your bag, but you’ll almost certainly have your phone with you.
- Create a ranking system – When creating a to-do list, prioritize urgent tasks. This may vary depending on school and job demands, but creating a hierarchy of tasks is a great way to stay calm and get things done.
Tip #4: Try Online Learning
If a flexible job isn’t realistic, explore options for flexible learning. Instead of commuting to school, try studying from the comfort of your home (just make sure to set up a designated study spot—and no, the living room couch can’t be it).
Tip #5: Set Boundaries
Feeling overwhelmed from your wall-to-wall schedule? It’s time to set clear boundaries:
- Learn to say “no” – You don’t need to participate in every extra-curricular or take on every project to be a successful student or worker. Sometimes it’s okay to step back and say no when things pile up.
- Ask for help – Your coworkers and peers would much prefer to help you out than let you flounder and fail—especially when it affects them, too. Remember, you’re juggling a lot!
- Schedule “me time” – Carve out some school-and-work-free time and make it sacred. That means no work emails, no thinking about upcoming assignments or the latest quiz results, and no flipping through your Chem textbook during your self-care bubble bath. Incorporate rest and relaxation into your schedule so you’re able to approach work and school feeling rejuvenated.
Pursue Your Dreams
At the end of the day, school should be a step towards success. You have to focus on your education to land a stellar career, but you can’t forget about your current career, either. With some healthy boundaries and a flexible schedule, you’ll be on your way to achieving your educational and professional goals in no time.
Image Credits: istockphoto.com
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