Balancing work, home and student life, takes superhuman effort and a significant adjustment to family life as students tend to make the most compromises in that area of their lives in order to disrupt work performance as little as possible while keeping up with a relentless study schedule.
A recent survey indicated that many students were experiencing irritability, a sign of exhaustion born of, among other things, stress.
Balancing life is vitally important in the routine of a working student, takes careful planning and can never just fall into place.
Tips to help balance life:
- Use the ability to plan which you apply at work to home and study commitments.
- Wherever you are in your studies, it is advisable to do a SWOT analysis of your commitments at intervals.
- Note down everything that demands time during a 168 hour week – prioritise tasks between the ‘must do’ and ‘choose to do’
- Note ‘choose-to-do’ activities which could be re-adjusted or eliminated – discuss these with friends or family to acquire a different perspective
- Negotiate with family for redistribution of chores and dedicated family time. Don’t plan your study activities in isolation. Get input from family around a schedule so they support it.
- Negotiate time for study and elicit support to help you keep to these times. Don’t be a student in isolation
- Explain to family what you hope to achieve with your studies and how it will benefit everyone.
- Recruit the help of child minders, family members or friends.
- Be assertive and learn to say ‘no’ to unreasonable demands on your time. Do you really have to be at work 12 – 16 hours a day?
- Check diet – cut down on high caffeine and sugar intake and smoking which exacerbates irritability.
- Leave work responsibilities at work.
A thought: A frequent regret by those looking back on their lives, is not that they spent too little time at work, but that they did not spend enough time with their families.
Balancing work, family and study, while a challenge, is worth the effort in the long term.