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Leslie Gilmour

How to Balance Part Time Study, Life, and Work

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Life is all about juggling.  There is a constant battle between all of the things in our lives that seem to be in competition with each other for the spotlight.  Sometimes, there are just too many balls in the air and juggling may seem impossible.  Some people thrive when faced with the challenge of having to do too many things at once.  They face their over-packed schedules head on with great result.  If you’re like the rest of the world who find themselves overwhelmed by trying to balance study, life, and work, you’re in luck.  There are some great tips and techniques that will help you stay your path and best of all, do it successfully.

Make a plan

The first step to a maintaining a well-balanced life is to make a plan.  The best way to stick to the plan is to make the plan reasonable.  Overloading yourself with too many tasks in too short an amount of time is the fastest way to failure.  One tip for making the best plan is to put it in writing.  Whether you use a computer organizer or a daily journal, writing down your plans for the day is the best way to hold yourself accountable. 

Make a list of all of the tasks and events you have coming up.  To go the extra mile, color code these events and separated them by urgency.  For example; big exams and deadlines should take precedence over an upcoming party.  Most people are very visual, so being able to actually see all of the things they need to do written out in front of them helps them to stay focused.  Over time you will find that this repetition will help you to not only create a habit but also to change the way you plan things in the future.

Stay organized

Once you have your planner in place, the next step to a seemingly balanced life is to organize it.  Many times a chaotic life is a direct result to the disorganization in your life that may already exist.  While there is beauty in chaos, it’s not the ideal way to juggle your life.  The best place to start organizing is in the area that you do most of your work.  Whether it is your home office, a study desk or even your favorite spot on your couch, organisation is the key to a stress-free life.

When starting the quest for organization, it is perfectly fine to use tools at your disposal to help you along the way.  You are only human after all.  Did you know that one of the best tools available to you is already in the palm of your hand?  Cell phones have come a long away from clunky devices that do little more than make a phone call.  You can not only organize your whole life on your phone but you can customize the way you do things as well.  Whether you are setting reminders for yourself to help you stay on task or are keeping track of hours worked, there is no other technology that is so easily accessible and that also is already such a large part of your life.  People are constantly on their cell phones anyhow.  So why not use it to your advantage?

Find time to play

While the important things like work and study will naturally be filling up your dancing card faster than you want, once and a while it is okay to find time to play.  Not only is it healthy, it is also a whole lot more fun than working.  Some people confuse finding the perfect balance in their lives with just staying on top of work and study, but life is equally, if not more important.  Taking care of your mental health should never be overlooked.  Making room for activities that keep you happy is the key to making everything in your life rotate the way it should.

Recently, I took a Saturday afternoon off study to help the kids put up new wall stickers.  We had bought these about a month before and they had been sitting waiting on me to find space in my schedule.  Just taking the time out and doing it left me feeling much better – and left the kids much happier.

Having a life isn’t always a distraction.  Certain activities can actually help your brain to focus while also keeping your motivated.  Hitting the gym with friends or any group activity that keeps your body moving will not only help to give you enough endurance to tackle a week’s worth of daunting tasks, but will also release endorphins so that you can blow through your work with a smile on your face.  So while planning out your week, skip the pencil, and pen in a social life.

Hold yourself accountable and forgive yourself

The last step to finding the perfect harmony in your life is to stick to the plans you make.  When it comes to keeping your life in order, you are the boss.  So hold yourself accountable.  If you plan out your week, try your hardest to stick to it.  There are few feelings in the world as good as setting your mind to complete a perfect week and then actually doing.  The satisfaction you feel from succeeding will be even greater when you know that you were responsible for it.  If you have followed the first few steps to a perfectly balanced life, being able to keep your life in check is no longer impossible.

On the other side of things, is failure.  Failure is okay.  Along with accountable is forgiveness.  Being too hard on yourself for letting one of the balls in your life drop to the floor will not always motivate you to pick that ball up and try again.  Give yourself some credit for everything you have already managed to accomplish and keep pushing forward.  When you accept that balancing your life doesn’t always work out perfectly, you are more likely to try harder the next time around.

Final Thoughts

Finding out how to balance study, work and life is a whole lot easier said than it is done.  By making a plan and following through, half the battle is already over with.  Like everything in life, finding that harmony will be full of trials and errors but as long as you remember to keep moving forward you will find that over time, the never ending juggling act will almost be second nature to you.  Good luck.

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