How to achieve the perfect work-life-study balance today!
Stacey Dawson and Michael Healy both work within the USQ Careers and Employability Team. They assist students with developing their resumes, improving their interview skills as well as give advice on how to succeed in their chosen careers. They are both current students, with Stacey currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Business Leadership and Michael studying his PhD on careers and employability.
Finding the perfect balance between work, family and study commitments is hard for many students.
Successfully managing this balancing act is all about catering your study to your unique lifestyle and work commitments. These tips are sure to help you no matter how full your schedule.
1. Get everything on a calendar
Assignments, study schedules, work commitments, social activities and family obligations are stressful to even put together in one sentence! Get yourself a calendar and put everything in the one place. You can easily see when commitments overlap, and it will help you prepare for a jam-packed week in advance.
It is also useful to make sure your family have access to your calendar. If they can see you’re in for a big week, they can prepare for you to be busy, and maybe even offer some much-needed support.
2. Avoid procrastination and prioritise
Do it, delegate it, or delete it.
Avoiding procrastination can be achieved through following this simple rule. If you’re struggling with getting started, use these tips to help you.
- Get out a pen and paper and brain-dump all your tasks and ideas.
- Make a list and prioritise the items that you need to do first.
- Sort your workload into items you can do now, delegate to someone else, or delete altogether.
Finding the motivating drive behind your study journey - the reason you started (and continue) studying - can help put your head in the right space to be proactive, by working with a purpose. You should also remind yourself that if you procrastinate now, you sacrifice later. Get in and do your work now, so you don’t have to sacrifice your leisure time later.
If this is an area you find is a weakness for you, consider registering for the Headstrong program, a free online program designed for current students to learn game changing tools to help you succeed in study and life.
3. Integrate your work and study
Take advantage of your work perks and use them to optimise your studying experience. If you’re working while studying, there are many ways you can use work as a benefit to your studying. For example, you could use your office space as a quiet study area, take advantage of any study-leave options or annual-leave, and booking it in advance for the busy periods of study. You could use colleagues as mentors, and even make use of the resources available to you at work, provided you have permission, such as printers and professional programs. If you don’t work in an office environment, consider the resources and perks available to you in your workplace, and cater these to your study needs.
Where possible, use the work you do within your role as a base for your study and assessment. Even if you don’t work directly in the role or industry you are studying, you can often find that applying your work knowledge to your study tasks will help in giving a practical reference to the content you are learning. By using your job for your study needs, you can reduce your workload and achieve two loads of work as one united project.
If you don’t work in the field you are studying, you can always speak with our Careers & Employability Team to assist you when trying to enter your desired industry.
4. Be flexible
Embrace the chaos and sudden changes to plans as these perceived hiccups can often lead to positive outcomes that shape your study journey. Something that might appear as a complication at first may lead to a positive experience, or an avenue to a career opportunity. It’s important to manage stress by being open-minded and focusing only on the things that you can control, while accepting and releasing the changes you can’t.
When you’re feeling discouraged, and are struggling to be flexible, concentrate on the fact that this is a short-term sacrifice for a long-term benefit.
5. Look after yourself
Last, but certainly not least, you need to ensure your mental and physical wellbeing are your top priority. Eating well and exercising keeps your body and mind healthy, while improving your mood and concentration, allowing you to study more productively without the risk of burning yourself out.
Your mental health is just as important to nourish as your physical health. Use your family/friend support network and communicate your needs openly to receive the help you need. Reward yourself for your hard work and acknowledge your personal, as well as academic, accomplishments. It can be all too easy to punish yourself with negative thoughts for failures, so consciously working to balance this with positive acknowledgments of successes helps to improve your self-esteem.
Don’t forget that, here at USQ, there are a variety of helpful (and free) services available for students via the USQ support services. All you have to do is ask!