Going to school while working full-time is no easy feat. Any time you go through such a major change, you have to learn how to organize your life again. You are definitely not alone if you find it difficult to manage work and school with the rest of your life. In fact, many other people are going through the exact same thing right now. The key to finding balance in your life? Organizing your life so that you are meeting your own needs rather than forcing everything else to bend to your will.
These work life balance tips will help you become more organized, finding balance in your work, personal, and academic lives:
1. Refuse to be “on call.”
Just because you have access to your smartphone or your laptop does not mean that you are available for work. If you are not physically at work, don’t allow yourself to complete work tasks when you are taking some time to yourself. The same applies to school. Complete your work on a set schedule, setting aside specific hours during which you allow yourself to work.
2. Schedule your downtime.
There are many benefits of online education and one is that you get to schedule it in around work and even your downtime. Arrange to have a date night with your significant other or to have some playtime with the kids. If you need to, schedule it just like you schedule your school assignments and work functions in your phone or on your calendar. Stick to it, treating your relaxation time like anything else in your schedule.
3. Learn to say no to time zappers.
Do you find yourself wasting a lot of time talking to Karen from the office, even though you really don’t care to hear her latest gossip? It’s okay to say that you need to return to work. Are you tired of going over to your neighbor’s weekend parties out of obligation, even though you would rather be at home with the family? If you feel that an activity fails to enhance your life in any valuable way, you have the right to turn down the offer. Don’t feel guilty about making your own life a priority, even if it means you are saying no to social events you don’t even really want to attend.
4. Learn how to outsource.
Are those errands and chores you do actually all that important? Does it really matter that you are the one doing the errand? There are plenty of services that now allow you to order groceries on the Internet, and there are plenty of ways to maintain your lawn without actually going out to mow it. You do not physically have to spend your time completing every little task in order to be successful.
If you work remotely or online, you may even be able to outsource some of those tasks that take up much of your time. Does it take you forever to sort through email? Is maintaining your website time consuming with school and family in the picture? you may benefit from a virtual assistant.
5. Let go of the idea that you can be perfect at all things.
Perfection is attainable by absolutely nobody. You can be a good employee, good partner, good parent, and good student all at the same time, but you must maintain a sense of balance. There is always something you can be doing better, but what else will be suffering because of the extra attention you take away? Don’t put that extra pressure on yourself when what you really deserve is a break.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Remember: you do not have to do everything. You are not a failure if you ask for help. In fact, you are more likely to succeed if you ask for assistance because the task is more likely to get done efficiently. Do not be afraid of disapproval from others or losing pride. In many cases, your end goal is for the task to be complete; not for you to be the one to complete the task.
7. Ask yourself, “Is this going to matter?”
If something isn’t going to matter in five years, is it really worth getting upset over right now? Don’t sweat the small stuff. If this problem is not going to have a huge impact on the rest of your life, you do not need to worry about it so much. Take a few deep breaths and move on with your day.
8. Take time for physical fitness and health.
When you feel good physically, you often feel good emotionally. Not only does working out give you a boost of endorphins, but it also keeps you healthy. Just like a healthy meal is fuel for your brain, a workout will recharge you during a midday slump. Schedule workouts for those periods of the day where you feel your morale hitting a wall.
9. Unplug for a while.
It’s okay to leave the phone at home sometimes, and it’s perfectly fine not to check your email every time you hear the notification. Leave Facebook and other forms of social media to the side when you are at work, studying, or spending time with the family. Give yourself limited periods of time to check your phone, and then disconnect from it entirely.
10. This is your life. You call the shots.
In life, the only rules that really matter are the ones you set for yourself. You are the one who decides what is most important to you. You are the one who decides when it is time to take a break. You are the one who determines when you have achieved perfect balance. Organizing your life begins with asking the question, “What do you want?”