Balancing School and Work

Today, it’s taught that giving 100 percent of one’s self at every moment is the way to success. While there is merit to hard work, taking the extreme course is an easy way to burn out quickly.

The struggle is real for individuals who have to work while attending school. That’s why it’s best to remember the importance to recognize the need for balance. Being ambitious is admirable, but those with great ambitions should not compromise physical, emotional or mental well-being for the sake of greatness.

Making a Weekly Schedule

With the proliferation of technology available today, keeping a weekly schedule is as easy as it has ever been. For starters, you likely have a mobile phone with you at all times of the day. You can add all of your classes and work shifts into the calendar you have sitting in your pocket. You can also set custom reminders and alarms to notify you of due dates and actions to take.

If you use a laptop for school, you can likewise develop a calendar using the apps on your computer. Using the calendar associated with your email address makes your schedule and tasks accessible through your phone as well, making it easy to cross off action items or edit plans. This is the most efficient approach, as calendars have robust interfaces that allow you to customize categories and offer reminder emails with all the space for extra details.

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If developing your own schedule seems like too much of a project, the internet offers plenty of schedule templates, apps and calendars that are either free or low-cost to download. Conducting a search online yields several help programs to leverage in your quest to achieve optimum school-work balance.

Another way to stay organized and keep all of your daily goals handy is by devising your own weekly schedule using a spreadsheet. You can even use the notes app on your computer or phone. If you want a low-tech experience, keeping a weekly planner is also a viable option. These do not come with a reminder option, so you will have to be vigilant in staying current with your tasks.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Making a Schedule

There are many benefits of keeping a weekly schedule. If the advantages of creating and sticking to a weekly schedule were not readily apparent, see the following:

  • Organization – Documenting every item expected of you for the week gives you a clear view of what your week looks like. Reviewing your schedule lets you see how much work is required of you. It also helps you visualize taking the time needed to complete each task.
  • Seeing where your free time is – Not only can you see what you need to do and when, you will also see where you have time to rest and take on personal endeavors, such as journal, exercise, meet with friends or watch television on the couch.
  • Identifies where you come up short – Your schedule can be used as a tool to help you see inefficiencies. For example, you may take two hours for a task, but notice you do not get it complete in the allotted time. You can then ask yourself if you were using your time wisely or frivolously and adjust from there.
  • Discipline – Creating a full schedule and sticking to it bolsters resolve and develops discipline.
  • Eliminates double-booking – When you keep a schedule for everything, it is impossible to double-book yourself. You are already taking on a lot with school and work. There is no reason to add extra confusion to your life.

The benefits of keeping a schedule are plentiful. However, there are some disadvantages, too. Some drawbacks of keeping a schedule include the following:

  • Seeing all tasks can be overwhelming – It is not uncommon to see all your tasks in one place and get anxious over your workload. Remember, sticking to the plan and using your time efficiently gets you through it all. Focus on one task at a time to decrease your anxiety.
  • Inflexibility – If you are disciplined with your schedule, there is no time for an impromptu game of Frisbee or an extended lunch with friends. Be determined to stick to your schedule and plan these tasks to get in everything you need to feel happy in life.
  • It may seem like there is nothing more to life than the next task – If you have a lot on your to-do list, it may feel as though life is nothing more than catering to an inbox. Make a conscious effort to get in plenty of time for play and socializing.

Considering All Options

If you have made the decision to take on school and work, then congratulations! It is not a decision to make lightly. Although you may find taking on school and work means there’s a lot at stake, taking on both does not have to be a disturbing experience. Before you prepare to see your friends and family considerably less for the foreseeable future, consider the many options available to you for the best possible experience.

Alternative Class Schedules

The overwhelming majority of colleges and universities offer alternative class schedules for their degree and certificate programs. Full-time course loads have been altered over the last decade or so to accommodate the schedules of committed students. Alternative course schedules include online classes, night classes, weekend sessions and accelerated degree programs. Students can choose any combination of onsite classes, night sessions and online courses to optimally adhere to their schedules.

Flexible Work Schedules

Students have a variety of choices when it comes to finding jobs with flexible work schedules. Many on-campus jobs are happy to accommodate their class schedules. Some examples of on-campus jobs include library clerk, restaurant cashier and office administrator. Off-campus jobs with flexible schedules include bartending, serving, ride sharing and remote work.

Set Work Schedules

Sometimes, set work schedules are the best for a working student. Knowing when they are expected to be at work makes it easy to consistently plan class and study time. Having a full-time day job may make taking night and weekend classes the obvious choice. Conversely, having a night job three times per week may make daytime classes the clear decision.

Considering all of your options helps you make an informed decision regarding your simultaneous schedules. Setting up a mock schedule helps you see where problems may arise. Do not just consider your work and school life. Think about your personal life and obligations, and how you will meet those while still getting in rest and personal time. Seeing it on paper ahead of time aids in your decision-making process.

Finding Time for Health

There are many different philosophies when it comes to balancing work, school and health. For instance, some people thinking taking an entire day to rest and rejuvenate is key to success. Others believe fitting in fitness and relaxation into every day is the right approach.

The truth is, you have find the formula that what works best for you and your busy schedule. Regardless, maintaining a healthy body and mind are equally as important as managing school assignments and work expectations. In fact, physical health and mental stability are essential to prolonged functionality and productivity. Try some of the following to maintain mental and physical health while balancing school and work.

Meditate Daily

Meditation has been around for centuries and has been adopted by several cultures spanning across the globe. Regardless of the techniques employed, the benefits of meditation include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety.
  • Emotional well-being.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Increased self-awareness.

Regular Exercise

Regardless of the kind you like to do, regular exercise keeps the body fit and gets the mind off looming tasks. Popular examples include CrossFit, calisthenics, running, swimming and martial arts. Benefits of regular exercise include increased energy, improved memory and brain function and better sleep.

Yoga

Yoga combines physical exercise with mindfulness techniques and meditation. It is a good way to fit meditation and fitness into a day packed full of to-do list items. The bonus, of course, is the last pose, savasana, or corpse pose, in which practitioners lie down for five to 10 minutes in meditation. It’s a great way to prepare for a hectic day.

Sometimes doing nothing is the cure for what ails you. While all of the above certainly contributes to your sanity while balancing school and work, resting is critical, too. If you have the time, pick one day in which you rest and relax as much as possible. Focus on getting good nutrition, plenty of sleep and take the time to do something you enjoy for the sake of entertainment. Besides, nothing is worth doing if you can’t stop to smell the roses once in a while.

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