If you are reading this post, you are a) suffering from a terrible work-life balance, are chronically sleep deprived, and are always rushing, or b) would like to have extra money but are not sure how to manage your study and workload. First, it helps to know that your problems are not unique. Already talking with friends should give you tips about how to manage your time.
Before discussing how to balance work and study, let’s tackle the underlying cause of time pressure: your work. You should be clear about what kind of experiences you gain from your work. If you work in a restaurant, as a taxi/Uber driver, you learn client management and customer service. Working as a delivery man/woman teaches punctuality and planning. Office work gives you plenty of chances to learn about work values, conflict resolution etc. If you cannot discern any clear values from your work, except money, if possible consider a different job. Ideally, you can use your current work experience to showcase your skills to your future employer.
The most important thing is to not procrastinate – under no circumstances leave anything until the last minute. People have the tendency to do the little easy tasks first. It is rewarding. You work 30 minutes and it is done. You can tick it off your list. Asana, a project management software, even lets you have a unicorn dancing on your screen to celebrate that the task is done. But, the big tasks normally require thinking time. And that takes time. Big projects, like reports and presentation, need time if you like to deliver high-quality work. Leaving them to the last minute will result in stress and lack of sleep.
Of course, there are also other little behavioural changes that you can do to make it easier to achieve a balance between study and work. Some require you to have a disciplined attitude, others will ask you to change your behaviour. As a full-time single mother with a side hustle, these are my favourite tips:
Eisenhower had a great and simple time management technique known as the Eisenhower matrix. If you have never consciously done any time management, or have so far relied on never-ending lists, this might be a first step towards (better) time management:
Your work-life balance might be off, tilted towards too much ‘life’ or ‘work’, because you dread to do certain activities. This could be studying for a test, applying for a job, or taking care of yourself. The reason for an imbalance is your behaviour. There is no other way than to change your behaviour. Writing down your intentions is an approach that has been widely researched by health professionals and clinical psychologists. The goal is to identify the obstacles that stop you from reaching your goals. The goal is to develop some explicit strategies to help you change your behaviour You’ll have to do these steps:
If studying online is something for you, check out the reviews from various open universities in Europe and Asia on EDUopinions. If you know that this is not for you, pick a city on EDUopinions that is close to your work (or find work that is close to the city you like to live and study in).
Do you have any tips for achieving the perfect work-life balance? Please tell us about it by leaving a comment!