Renae: How to balance study, life and business travel
Renae is completing a Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) while also working as an Event Coordinator. She travels regularly for work and has learnt many tips and tricks for studying on the go.
‘Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.’ - Thomas Merton
I would describe myself as a naturally ambitious person. As someone who wanted to pursue a successful career, I was fortunate enough to have a great employer who believed in and supported my dream. Being given the opportunity to grow within the company, as well as the freedom to compliment my promotion by attaining a degree at the same time, was something I simply couldn’t resist.
Funnily enough, I commenced my study venture in the Qantas Club in Melbourne airport on my way to Phuket, Thailand. Little did I know at the time that the struggle for balance and harmony I craved between my work, life and business travel was not going to be an easy feat. Nor did I realise just how familiar study in an airport setting would become.
Qantas club where I actually commenced my degree
As an Event Coordinator, to say my work hours can be varied would be an understatement. Because my job is so diverse, I am always on the move and could be in any city at any time. I’ve had to adapt quickly and learn how to fit study in whenever and wherever I can while still trying to maintain that balance between work, travel, study and life. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way and my advice to you on how to make it work.
1. Organisation is key
If travel is part of your work-study equation, nothing is more important than being organised. Generally on a Sunday night I will sit down and work out my weekly activities and exactly what I need to pack or download to be completely organised for the week ahead. I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to be organised. A well laid plan can bring so much calm to a hectic weekly schedule. While you have to accept that things don’t always work out the way you imagined, failing to plan simply means things are bound to fall off your to-do list and slip between the cracks of your schedule. Planned organisation is essential.
Hotel balconies are another popular place for me to hit the books.
2. Prioritise your health and wellness
With a busy schedule it’s easy for your health and fitness to fall to the lower end of your priorities, but for me, staying active while studying and travelling is really important. Fitting in a walk or a run here and there keeps my mind clear and my body fit and strong to handle the long days and focus that my job and study require. Prioritise your health and do you best to stick to a fitness routine and eat a healthy diet, no matter how much you’re on the move for work. Taking care of yourself means you’re in the best shape possible to keep up with the pace of that work-like-study-travel juggle.
3. Study in blocks
Try to break your study into manageable weekly chunks and as much as possible, stick to a study routine. For example, Thursday nights are my study nights and I study for 2 or 3 hours. I also try to get at least another 3 or 4 hours of study in over the weekend and if it’s available, I also use the boardroom at work for uni whenever my schedule allows. Studying in regular chunks means that you can still find time in the week to enjoy your other interests, knowing that your uni commitments are under control. This approach helps to you maintain that balance and avoids study creeping into every spare minute of your schedule.
Me studying in the departure lounge at Phuket airport
4. Give yourself time out
I’ve discovered that taking a break (even a mini one) from the books is important. While the work week comes to an end, the responsibilities of study can make it feel like you’re never off the clock. Just closing your textbooks for the weekend and having a life feels like a refreshing holiday. When I’m taking a study break I spend time doing other activities, like catching up with friends or even going on a day trip, which can really soothe the mind. When you’re chasing your goals and managing a busy schedule it can feel quite indulgent to take time out just for you, but by allowing yourself time to relax and re-energise, you’re then able to approach all those other commitments in your very best frame of mind.
It’s not easy to merge study with work and life, let alone with regular business travel thrown into the mix. Organisation is essential and you need to prioritise your own health and wellbeing to make it work. But by taking the time to develop a strong study-work-life plan and valuing your dedicated me-time, I believe it is possible to achieve that balance we all crave.
For more advice and tips on merging work and study, check out USQ's eBook. Head to the website to register your details and download your copy now!