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Tips for Balancing Work, Life, and School

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Finding a healthy balance between a job, education, and life may be challenging. Our lives require us to strike a balance between the numerous roles we play – being productive workers, successful students, and considerate family members. Juggling between completing education, working part-time or full-time to manage college fees, and trying to enjoy your college experience, makes life stressful and less gratifying at times. It seems impossible to get everything done without feeling stressed and burnt out, and we frequently struggle to balance our work, life, and college schedules.

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Being South Carolina students, most of us have to work part-time or full-time after high school to manage finances for higher education. You may be concerned about earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree while working. But with a clear plan, scheduling, prioritizing tasks, and staying on track with your individual goals, you can minimize stress and maintain a work-life-school balance. Here are six simple ideas to help you achieve and maintain life balance as a student:

1. Choose Online Degree Programs and Courses

Universities and colleges in South Carolina have a high percentage of students who either come from other states (52.4% in USC) or commute long distances to reach campuses. While working and attending school at the same time can be advantageous, you’ll struggle to balance both if a major part of your day is spent commuting from place to place.

The best way to maintain a balance between work and college is to enroll in an online degree program is the best way to balance work and college. Many universities in SC, including the University of South Carolina, offer various online programs.

If you’re a business student, go for online MBA programs in SC, or if you want to pursue science, you can opt for BS or MS online degree programs. The adaptability and flexibility make online programs perfect for a hectic lifestyle. Moreover, you can save many commutation or in-campus housing expenses when you register for online programs.

2. Create Long-Term Goals

Another technique to strike a balance between your work, school, and personal schedules is to set clear goals and objectives for both the long term and the short term. Focusing on a long-term vision gives you a sense of purpose and motivation needed to achieve those objectives. Looking at the bigger picture and setting long-term goals will help you reduce stress and retain your focus during rough times.

Consider what you want to accomplish in your education and professional career in the next few years and prioritize your goals accordingly—set milestones leading to each major goal to help you keep going.

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3. Designate a Workspace at Home

Being productive in a home-based setting, particularly when you choose to work from home or take online courses, can become challenging if you have a lot of distractions. According to medical research, distractions can cause people to lose focus and take much longer to complete a task, resulting in poor quality of work, delays in task completion, and stress. You must have a separate workspace for your work and study.

Designate a Workspace at Home Work-life balance

When you study, work, and relax in the same environment, limiting certain activities to dedicated space within that area is necessary. Ideally, your home office and study area should be separate so that you can maintain focus on the task at hand. When choosing a space for work or studies, make sure the space doesn’t offer much to relax or sleep. However, the furniture should be comfortable enough to spend long hours sitting and working without feeling weary and exhausted. Make adequate lighting arrangements, as a lack of light can seriously hamper your work and focus.

4. Create a Work and Study Schedule

The most difficult aspect of working and studying at the same time is managing tough schedules. A steady routine can be the lynchpin in maintaining a balance between work, life, and studies.

Begin by creating a work and study schedule and closely adhering to it so that it does not interfere with your family and leisure time. These schedules will benefit your general health and help you perform your on-job or academic tasks smoothly. Setting up daily routines also helps reduce stress and increase your energy levels.

Aside from your job and college, it’s also necessary to make time for your family and friends, spare a few hours for independent study, and occasionally unplug yourself from rigid routines. With so much going on, if you don’t arrange these things into your schedules, they may go unnoticed, and you may feel left out.

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5. Don’t Skimp on Self-Care

Physical and mental well-being is directly associated with your work and study performance. With a part-time or full-time job and regular studies, taking time for yourself may seem like a fantasy. However, when you maintain strict schedules and stay on track with your goals, you can easily make time for self-care and relaxation. Self-care is as easy as getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, eating healthy food, and exercising daily. A healthy body and mind will translate into your job performance and college grades.

Even with your busy routines, you can still practice self-care throughout the day. Take short breaks after prolonged screen time. Take a 2-minute walk after every hour of work to stretch and mobilize your muscles. Once you’ve completed crucial duties, find a way to reward yourself and clear your mind, but that doesn’t have to be screen time again.

6. Know when and where you are most productive

Productivity is a variable component for each individual. Some people are more productive working in a group, while others work better in quiet, isolated spaces. Some people can perform better under time-compressed environments, while others focus better when they’re not time-bound. To be more productive during your limited time at work or college, try to figure out settings and places where you are most comfortable and focused. This level of self-awareness can help you not to waste time by trying to operate in a setting that is not your ideal work environment.

Every person is well aware of their requirements for performing their best. Try to figure out yours by trying different settings and environments that help you focus on your task and be productive. Discover which settings you performed and felt energized and motivated. Reflect on what worked to help you focus and distract you.

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Final Thoughts

When you’re working and studying at the same time, maintaining a balance between your life, job, and college schedules can sometimes be challenging. Although the tips mentioned above are not a magic wand that will make all your stress disappear in a wave, they will help you manage your routine and make time for other essential things in your life that you may be overlooking.

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