BALANCING GRAD SCHOOL, WORK AND FAMILY
Some grad students are working full-time jobs and managing family responsibilities. It can be hectic and sometimes stressful. However, it is possible to successfully balance grad school, work and family. I will share some common sense, easy to do healthy tips that help me achieve a healthy work, school, and life balance.
Plan and manage your time smartly. Set up a study schedule during the times when you’re not working. Every day I commute to work on the train for a total of about three hours. I use the time to do emails, study and work on school assignments. I use the evenings after work to relax by playing tennis, going the gym, or watching TV news while getting ready for the next day. Don’t forget to prioritize family time as a part of your schedule. Weeknights during dinner I connect with family members. It’s usually light conversation about whatever we want to talk about. Saturday and Sunday afternoons we go the mall, to our favorite restaurants, visit friends, or just spend family time together in relaxing and fun ways.
Improve time management skills
Each day there’s a limited amount of time to get things done. Organize your daily schedule around priorities first and make sure you stick to your schedule. I use Saturday and Sunday early mornings to study. When the weather is really nice, it’s hard to stay focused and study. I have to force myself to think about why I’m doing what I’m doing and about the consequences if I don’t study. When you’re tempted to break your schedule, think about the consequences. I promise there is plenty of sunshine to enjoy after studying and taking care of family priorities.
Take a little break
Schedule down time to relax, unwind and reflect. Take 20 mins during lunch to walk outside or meditate in a quiet place. Sometimes for lunch I walk outside on the Schuylkill River path. When I come back to work, I’m energized and my focus is better. Take two or three nights out of the week to enjoy your hobby or passion. After work I love to play tennis, read or go the gym. Those activities help me to relax and reflect on what’s going right and what I need to change. Don’t wait until you’re stressed to take a break. Plan daily breaks of 20 mins where you can unwind.
It’s not rocket science
We can all be successful at finding balance. Use common sense to figure out ways to organize your schedule so that you have enough time to take care of your priorities. Stick to your priorities and schedule. Be aware of distractions that are not priorities and resist the temptation to do things that are not on your schedule. At first it may not be easy, but stick to it and you’ll be rewarded.
I’d like to hear from you. Please let me know what suggestions or comments you have about balancing grad school, work and family. Take care.