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What are the best ways to maintain a work and school balance?

I think many people struggle with this and any type of advice towards this question is valuable. #business #leadership #organization


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Jeanine’s Answer

Hi Bria! This is a great question! You will see many people say that organization and planning are paramount. This is absolutely true! The good thing about this is that you are learning early how to manage a calendar and balance your priorities. Some people take a really long time to figure things out. I always say that you can tell when you've achieved that balance when you can feel relaxed and have extra time in your day. I used to work so much that school suffered, and I clearly knew that when my grades didn't look how I wanted them to look. It was the same when I put everything into school. My job became increasingly harder, and I wasn't successful. There's a balance there, and when you find it, you will definitely know. My calendar was my lifeline as well as forcing myself to stop working when my shift was over. I had to make sure that I took care of myself so that I could give my best to both work and school. I hope that this helps! Good luck!


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Ted’s Answer

Hi Bria --


I'd like to emphasize one of the great points Alice made above – the importance of time PLANNING (and having the DISCIPLINE to stick to your plan).


I'll elaborate by giving a quick snapshot of my own personal experience: While still working fulltime as a Sales Manager at my company, I returned to school to obtain a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA). I was still accountable for achieving my work metrics -- that didn't "go away" simply because I chose to pursue a graduate degree on my own. So, I was confronted with the challenge of balancing my work life with my academic life, to be sure I succeeded at both. The NUMBER ONE thing that helped me do that was to plan my time, in advance was this: I learned that I needed to be SURE to allocate the appropriate amount of time to each pursuit (career and school): I used the calendar function included in Microsoft Outlook to block out time to accomplish specific tasks for work and school, and then really (REALLY) kept to the schedule I created for myself as a way to not fall behind (i.e., procrastinate). I occasionally found that a work time-block that I had set for myself had to “run over” a bit – but I was as diligent as I could be to not stray away from my time plan. I built in some “slack time” into my daily calendar to allow time to catch up on tasks that I wasn’t previously able to complete in the time I had previously allocated. That meant that I needed to be able to pretty much “turn on a dime”, and switch from one task to another without missing much of a beat between ending one task (which might be work-related) and starting another (which might be school-related).


When it was all said and done, I completed my MBA with a 3.9 GPA while still working full time. I meant, by the way, that I spent a LOT more of my time (after work) pursuing my school-related tasks (and a lot less time pursuing my social life – that’s part of the deal), but the payoff has been that obtaining my MBA has helped to significantly propel my career, so it was very worth it.


Bottom line from above – get good at calendaring, and stick to your plan! I hope this helps you, and best wishes to you!


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Katie’s Answer

Great question! Here are some tips that will hopefully help:
1) Time management - Its very easy to get overwhelmed if you're juggling a lot with school and work, so time management is really important.
Make sure you prioritize your school work and leave enough time in the day/week to get done with your work obligations
2) When you're doing school work, try to minimize disruptions - maybe silence your phone for an hour, or turn off background TV so you can focus, or go to a quiet spot. This will help you better focus.
3) Really try to focus on building in time between work and school for things that bring you happiness and a sense of peace - maybe its going for a run or working out, maybe its having a chat with a particular friend that you know is always positive and helpful to talk to, perhaps its doing a hobby like baking, designing photo albums of pictures that make you happy, etc. It's important to take care of yourself if you want to be successful at school and/or work.
4) If you're feeling the stress creep in, meditation or even just closing your eyes and taking deep breaths, or going for a walk/changing scenery can help.
5) To the extent you can, try to let go of the things you can't change and try not to let little things overly stress you out. De-prioritize the unimportant things
6) If you have a say over your work schedule, try to plan ahead to make it fit with your school obligations. Try not to pack too much into one day.

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Paul A’s Answer

Hi Bria! Wow! Hmm! Rather then address the symptom let's explore the underlying issue. Meeting expectations! Becoming more self aware of how much of struggling is fed by meeting others expectations (parents, peer pressure, church and our culture) and then our own definition of self identity based on our self imposed unmet expectations. The difficult part becomes one of sorting through all the beliefs fueling this monsteras ego centered curse and finding our own personal rhythm. Struggling about most anything is caused when "our expectations" collide with our current reality. Most of the data in our personal data banks is other people's opinions of their truth putting pressure on us to conform. Being free to pursue life in a way that works "best for you" is called growth. Doing it "wrong" takes courage. Sometimes that is more freeing then balance. Life is a journey not a destination. Learning to dance with uncertainty is tough especially when someone's "best strategies" blind you from your owawesome intuitive heart centered truth.


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Simon’s Answer

Throughout your life you will be balancing important things, be it school, family, jobs and even relationships. The most successful people I know prioritize and do not procrastinate. They are also the people that seem to get a lot done while others end to get overwhelmed at even the smallest backlog of "things to do". I went to 15 years of night school to get my engineering degree while holding a full time engineering type job, I got married, and we even had a child!!! The key is to stay focused, keep track of items that need to do, and prioritize. Do not procrastinate, do what you can, as soon as you can and start big projects/items early. You never know what will come up in the future. Staying on top of our "to do" list will allow you to have more time to do lower priority (fun) items. I find that rewarding yourself by doing a fun thing after a not so fun thing is good.I have found that if you are organized not only can you get a lot done but you feel in control of your life. Good luck.


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Alice’s Answer

Bria -


You are wise to realize and address this question early on in your college experience. Here is a short list of suggestions:


1) Buy a planner/calendar that you carry everywhere or use the calendar on your mobile device
2) Take the time to log every meeting, assignment, or other responsibility you have in the planner/calendar early in the semester
3) Review the planner/calendar weekly to update it and then set a time each day either first thing in the morning or before you go to bed so you know what's coming up in the next day or so
4) Use color codes or something to identify which items are important (wedding, test, birth of sister's baby, assignment that counts 1/3 of your grade, etc.)
5) Finish assignments and responsibilities first and reward yourself with the 'treats' of personal events that are fun
6) Find the Success Center on campus. They have great resources, seminars, and counselors there to help you
7) Find a study group so you don't feel like you are by yourself
8) Don't procrastinate! The results will be depressing and overwhelming


Developing these habits sooner than later will help you have a successful college experience and personal life. You can do this!


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Pooja’s Answer

Hello Bria,


Your Question shows that you are a hard working person and wants to make best of your time. It is very important to maintain a Work/School/Life balance and to do that, make sure to:
- Set your priorities
- Make a Plan beforehand (Daily Routine and some personal unwinding time)
- Set reasonable small goals on both sides that you can achieve.. (remember over enthusiasm may lead to bigger goals that might take the toll on you..)
- Do not burn out.


I hope this helps.


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