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largo campus 727.532.2125 st. petersburg campus 727.826.0969

August 9, 2016

Managing Work, School and Personal Life:  The Great Balance

If you’ve ever gone to school and worked at the same time you were probably forced to learn how to manage your time wisely, or risked failing miserably.  For those of you planning to enter this circus of tasks, make sure your juggling act is laid out in advance.  The last thing you want to do is try to form a system once you’ve already started school and can’t take the chance at spending a single minute unproductively.  Check out these helpful tips to better prepare you for a successful future.

Calendar

Most importantly, your calendar is your best friend and it will help you schedule your days and send you reminders.  This is the single most essential tool you need in order to succeed.  You’ll be able to block out time to study, make grocery lists and remember grandma’s 75th birthday.  Even if you’re not sure what to expect of your schedule it’s a good idea to start marking things on your calendar and simply adjust as you go.

Prioritize

Start with a list of things that are important to you and put them in order from most important to least.  You’ll find that things like school and family are practically next to each other in importance and there will be sacrifices you need to make in order to maintain balance and ensure no one and nothing is neglected.  If you have family or friends you constantly spend time with and you’re about to cut that time in half by implementing work or school, it’s important to discuss this with the people closest to you.  Not only will you need their support, you’ll also need their understanding in your absence. Especially in families, when one member of the family moves or changes direction, the whole family feels the adjustment no matter how insignificant it may seem.

Large Tasks

Let’s say you have a giant task on your plate.  It could be anything from a research paper or final exam to a science project or work of art.  Maybe your first shot at an assignment of this magnitude is a little rocky, as expected, however you can always ensure to break it down into smaller tasks.  Avoid overwhelming yourself by laying out a plan, and then avoid procrastinating by committing to these smaller components and adding them to your calendar. 

Perfection

When you go into something with a mindset full of expectations you will almost always be let down.  Don’t expect everything to go smoothly whether it’s your first time or thirty-first.  All you can do is the best you can with what you have and what you know.  The rest will work itself out.  Almost nothing comes out “perfect”, however that depends on your definition.  Your definition of perfect could simply be to follow-through and not give up.  Success to you could be giving the speech you’re terrified to give regardless of the score you earn.  Sure, there will be disappointments, but nothing is ever a good reason to give up.  Even if you’ve just begun, you’re already in too deep to turn around.  Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and remember to keep everything in perspective. 

Check your Stress

While some people work great under pressure, others fold.  The last thing you want is to take on too much too soon, become overwhelmed and give up.  Given some situations are not optional, when you do have a choice don’t overdo it.  It’s always a good idea to ask for experience and suggestions from your predecessors.  If you have a great awareness of your own boundaries and what kind of workload you can carry then you’ll probably set aside time for stress-relievers like exercise or leisurely activities.  Stressful times are great opportunities to take a mini break and reconnect with supportive friends or family members. 

When you have such a full schedule and long list of priorities, probably the most important thing to remember is yourself.  Focus on what you ARE doing versus what you “should” be doing.  Analyze your daily schedule and be honest.  If you’re slacking, then yes, you need to make some changes and commitments and follow-through.  If you are doing the best you can then give yourself a break.  After all, the whole purpose of going to school is to better yourself.  Most people don’t go to college for someone else; they go to improve their quality of life for themselves or their family.   Whatever thought or idea you have always mark your calendar.  Inform your friends and family of your new endeavors, remember to prioritize and make sacrifices when necessary, break down your large tasks, don’t expect perfection and always have a way of relieving stress.

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