It’s hard enough to carve out time for yourself in between work and school. Add in kids’ doctor appointments, chores and other to-dos and you’ll barely have a chance to sleep, let alone relax.
If this sounds like your day-to-day struggle, try these planning tips to help you balance your studies with the rest of your life:
1. Set your priorities
Making a list of your priorities can help you decide between what you need to do today and what can probably wait until tomorrow. If your planner is starting to look like one long to-do list, consider categorizing items based on urgency and importance. Urgent and important items should be done first, followed by the less urgent and important items.
Of course, it’s up to you what should fall in each of these categories. For example, if family and school are at the top of your list of priorities, maybe you get the grocery shopping and your homework is done and save a trip to the dry cleaner for tomorrow. In the end, you’ll still get everything done, but you’ll have fewer panicked and stressed-out moments if you first take care of the most critical things on your list.
2. Know when to say no
Part of knowing how to manage your time is knowing when to say no. When it seems like everyone and everything is demanding more of your time, be judicious about what you put on your calendar.
You may have to pass on a few social events if it means you get to spend more time at home with your family. Or, maybe you take on a lighter course load if you know you’ll be swamped with work and family responsibilities in the next few months. Your list of priorities will help you determine what’s most important.
3. Ask for help when you need it
Sometimes we have to accept that we can’t do it all ourselves.
For example, to give yourself extra time in the morning, set up a carpool with a friend or a neighbor to take your kids to and from school. If you’re worried you might not be able to meet a deadline, ask your professor for an extension.
4. Take advantage of your resources
If you find yourself struggling with your assignments or course material, be proactive in getting the academic support you need. Talk to your advisor to get help with schedule adjustments or to find a tutor. The Career Services department can help you craft an effective resume and prepare for an important job interview.
Using your resources to their full advantage can reduce your school-related stress and help you be more successful in the classroom and out.