I get excited about taking on new challenges and learning new things. Three years ago, I set myself two challenges. I decided it would be a great idea to spend five days climbing in mountains to arrive in Machu Picchu and to shave my head for the World’s Greatest Shave raising funds for the Leukaemia Foundation. Neither of these challenges I took on lightly or thought they would be easy. However, I stayed focused and reaped the rewards of the amazing experience of the ancient city and raised over $3000 for a great charity. Both of these challenges helped me grasp the concept of balance and find the right tools to achieve it.
Late last year, I decided to sign up for an accounting course to compliment my MBA, which would assist me to achieve my career goal of being on a Board of Directors. However, when I saw that USQ offered a Master of Business and Innovation with Accounting and Digital Transformation majors I got so excited I signed up on the spot! Did I mention that I like a challenge?
I must admit though, when it came time to start I did question whether I had bitten off more than I could chew. Studying while working full-time and meeting weekly volunteering commitments can be hard to balance.
Managing your time and finding a work-life balance can seem like just another overwhelming task to add to the list, but it has become the most important task to me. It’s taken quite some time to grasp this concept and to find the right tools that help me achieve balance in life while still fitting in everything that I want. If like me, you aren’t sure where to start, these are my tips.
I plan my week ahead of time by using a calendar and then also use a weekly planner for the upcoming week. I also write task lists and like to visualise all of my upcoming activities, due dates and other important reminders for the week ahead every Sunday night. This keeps most surprises at bay!
I’m quite the master of multitasking but this doesn’t work well in a study environment! When I allocate study time I make sure I have the focus required to be productive. There is no point staring at a piece of work without any output, as this just wastes precious time. In this instance, I often use a timer. I set myself the goal of 10–15 minutes of focused work, then allow myself a timed short break to action other items that may distract me otherwise when I’m supposed to be studying. This means that when I’m supposed to be studying, study-related thoughts are all I allow into my head. Once I get into the piece of work I don’t need the timer, as my mind has focused on the task at hand and productivity comes naturally.
You can only do the best you can do. There is no point in criticising yourself or reflecting negatively. Always look forward and keep doing the best you can do.
I might have made it sound easy, but it’s not always so! I still get the occasional feeling of being completely overwhelmed and lack the courage to even read the assessment. At these times I just have to remind myself that everything is achievable if you put your mind to it.
I’m now part-way through my second semester of study and have already learnt so much valuable and relevant information that I am using in my daily work that despite my initial moment of shock, there could now be no doubt that I made the right decision in continued study. While I stay focused on my studies I continue to reap the seemingly endless rewards. I’ve found new doors are opening constantly: people want to connect with me; clients want to have more meaningful conversations with me about their business; and I’m enjoying conversations with senior leaders as I have more to contribute with everything I've learnt.
Great challenges come with great rewards! How will you challenge yourself today, tomorrow and in the years to come?
If you are new to study, you will learn that the uni student-juggling act can be quite difficult to manage. Find out how you can organise quality study time with these tips on how to conquer your calendar.