By Kari Lease
Balancing all of your responsibilities can be a challenge. As a student and an employee, I have developed a few strategies to reduce stress and achieve my goals.
To be successful, I cannot stress enough the importance of a planner. The idea may seem obvious, but it will be a lifesaver during the midterm and final seasons. Once you get all of your syllabi for the semester, take time to do a general semester outline. Mark the due dates for all of your tests, papers, group projects, presentations, and note your instructors’ office hours in your calendar. Mapping out the entire semester like this will give you a more detailed overview of your busy weeks and allow you to plan weekend trips or social activities. It also helps many people visualize everything they would like to accomplish.
Every Sunday night or Monday morning take time to plan out the upcoming week: write out required readings and minor assignments due that week and account for work hours if you are balancing school and a job. However, managing your school and work time is only half of the battle. You also need to prioritize your health, both physically and mentally. This may seem silly, but remember to schedule time to do laundry or clean your dorm/apartment.
Daily, I make a list of the things I have to do and the things I want to do. Try to keep the list of things you have to do short—the list should only include the assignments and activities that you need to have finished by the end of the day or the next morning. By keeping the “have to” list down to a manageable size, you may be able to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Color coding is another way to organize and prioritize tasks. Below is an example of a planner page that organizes school, work, and personal tasks into “have to” and “want to” categories. A quick Google search returns thousands of planner templates like the one below; this particular template is from ScatteredSquirrel.com.
Template source credit
It’s also important to give yourself breaks. Scheduling every second of your life can easily become unmanageable; don’t forget to allow yourself some downtime. I plan small fifteen to thirty minute breaks throughout my day so I have time to do the things I actually enjoy. You can use the time to take a walk or catch up on Game of Thrones. Sometimes taking time for yourself can lead to guilt, but having a concrete plan for your downtime can alleviate these feelings. I have found that taking time to focus on my mental and physical health makes the time I spend working/studying more productive.
Take it from me, balancing work and school can be stressful. I hope that if you try out these tips and ask those around you how they balance work and school, you’ll be able to craft a schedule that works for you.
Weekly To Dos. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from https://scatteredsquirrel.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Weekly-To-Dos.pdf