With finals and the end of the quarter soon approaching, your school work is going to begin to pile up. (Actually, this is probably the case no matter what point of the quarter we’re at.) Things may be made especially difficult if you also have to deal with work and family while going to school. Below are some tips on how to balance school, work, and family from Meredith Haberfeld, founder of Meredith Haberfeld Coaching.
Tip #1 – Set attainable goals – Pick realistic goals and focus on accomplishing them. Every success could give you more confidence to tackle the next goal.
Tip #2 – Make a schedule – Try sitting down with your schedule to get a handle on how much time you actually have. Look for the pockets of time between your professional and family obligations and see where you can plan in the time you need for homework. If your day still feels too hectic, consider going to sleep and getting up earlier. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish in the hour or two before the rest of the house wakes up.
Tip #3 – Stay organized – If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Haberfeld suggests spending fifteen minutes to organize one small area in your home or office. It might be just the thing you need to bring order to your thoughts as well. Another tip: Don’t forget to keep your calendar updated. If you can see deadlines coming, you’re more likely to prepare ahead of time and save yourself from pulling an all-nighter to finish a project or cram for a test.
Tip #4 – Take breaks when you need them – Feel yourself getting overwhelmed? Give yourself permission to take a break. That might mean closing the books, going for a quick walk – or taking a night off from studying altogether.
Tip #5 – Stay focused – When you’re at school, really try to keep your thoughts on school. Don’t think about the bills you have to pay at home, or who’s going to take the kids to soccer practice. Likewise, when you’re with family, enjoy being with family. You can help keep these areas of your life separate by planning study time into your schedule – and making sure you use that time to study.
Tip #6 – Keep your eyes on the prize – Trying to balance school with everything else in your life might be tough, so always try to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. A little sacrifice and effort in school now could offer big dividends when you’re taking that shiny new diploma on the job hunt with you. It might help to write out your academic goals. How many courses do you need to take? What is your time line? Tracking your progress can be great motivation to keep moving forward. Still feeling discouraged? Don’t worry – it’s natural to feel doubt when you’re struggling to juggle so many things. Just try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Tip #7 – Don’t expect perfection – As much as you may want things to go exactly according to plan, life often has a way of changing those plans for us. So maybe you don’t cross off every single item on your daily to-do list. Do what you can do, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Tomorrow is a new day.