Working, pursing your education, and having a family or social life can be a lot to manage. Though juggling multiple responsibilities may be difficult, it is possible! As you complete your college degree, consider the following reasons why finding a good life balance is essential for your productivity, health, and personal relationships:
1. Your mental and physical well-being.
Maintaining a busy schedule isn’t easy. But, if you allow the stress to build and don’t give yourself break time, you risk facing problems like insomnia, fatigue, high blood pressure, irritability, sadness, or anger.1,2
Before you experience burnout—a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity2—schedule time away from your work, school, and personal obligations to nurture your wellbeing.
Taking time for yourself can be as simple as popping in your headphones and listening to your favorite music with your eyes closed, walking around your neighborhood, or scheduling time away to visit friends and family. When you do, you might find that those moments away from your responsibilities reduces your stress levels and enables you to return to your obligations with a clear mind and improved focus.
2. Prepare for life’s surprises.
No one knows when the unexpected might happen. So, try your best to work early when your schedule permits. Then, if times get tough, you won’t have to scramble to complete coursework at the last minute.
At the start of each semester, build a calendar around your class syllabus. Think about your work, school, and family responsibilities. Identify the areas requiring more time and the things you can complete at your leisure.
Develop a plan and document due dates for written assignments like research papers and projects as soon as you receive them, and block out time for reading, researching, brainstorming, drafting, and completing the assignment before your deadlines approach. If something comes up that requires your time and energy, your organization and preparation will leave you one or more steps ahead!
3. Learn how to optimize your time.
Making sure you’re getting enough rest and are sleeping at optimal times is essential to sustaining balance in your life and boosting and supporting your productivity. According to The National Sleep Foundation, studies show U.S. companies lose more than $63 billion a year in lost productivity because of sleep deprivation.3 Before you feel run down, take proactive steps to ensure you receive adequate rest and get to bed at a reasonable time.
Adjust your schedule to go to bed and wake 15-30 minutes earlier than normal. Continue to increase the time until you reach your preferred sleep and wake times. Use the extra time to get a jump start on your reading assignments or reviewing your course’s discussion board posts, class notes, or instructor’s comments. In the long run, you might see an increase in your productivity and energy levels.3
Take steps to optimize your downtime through organization and preparation. For example, when you’re sitting in a waiting room, are on your lunch break at work, or are waiting to pick up your kids from school, use the time to review your class notes, get ahead in your reading requirements, or review discussion boards. You might even access your assignments, listen to live chats or send messages to your professors on your college’s mobile app.
4. Include your family.
You might feel pulled in several directions when deciding where to direct your attention at the end of the day. This may be even more challenging if you have family obligations. But, building a routine and planning can help sustain balance at home and keep yourself and your family happy.
Designate family reading and study time. When you sit down to complete homework, encourage your children to do the same. Set an example by letting them see you study, read, write, and take notes. Show your kids what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
If you’re learning new vocabulary or concepts, for example, create notecards to review the information and teach your children to do the same. Write questions on the front and answers on the back. If your kids are old enough to help, have them quiz you and vice versa. When you learn something that might interest your children, share it with them. Let them see your excitement to learn and encourage them to explore their interests too. Seeing how you work to achieve your goals shows them they can do it too!
Use these moments as a time to explore education and bond as a family. Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice your family time, job or wellbeing to complete your degree.
Finding balance as a student, employee, or parent can be a challenge, but we’re here to help! Reach out to your student success coach, faculty, or classmates who may offer resources or encouragement when you need it. Connect with your peers on the online GetSet Community for CTU students!
1. “Stress Symptoms.” WebMD. Accessed September 03, 2019. https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body#2
2. “Job burnout: How to spot it and take action.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 03, 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642
3. “Shifting your sleep schedule could help you tackle your to-do list, work out more often, and more.” National Sleep Foundation. Accessed September 03, 2019. https://www.sleep.org/articles/boost-daytime-productivity/