Managing responsibilities as a military spouse, employee, mother, and more can be daunting—and if you make the decision to go back to school things get even more hectic. Our instructors here at Career Step work with students in all kinds of situations, so we’ve gathered a list of strategies for finding and maintaining work/life balance from successful students.
Last month, in Part 1, we talked about setting priorities, remembering your motivation, simplifying, and taking care of yourself. Here are a few more ideas…
Set Aside Study Time
It can be tempting to just assume you’ll study when you have time—especially if you’re taking an online course (which is a great option for work/life balance). However, often that time just never appears. It’s important to set aside study time—even if it’s only a few minutes here and there.
The most successful students develop a daily routine of their study time within their other responsibilities. For example: get up, eat breakfast, study, go to work, study on lunch break, run errands after work, cook dinner, family time, study before bed. This builds study time into your day while giving you the flexibility to deal with other things as they come up.
When you’re already busy, being unorganized makes it even worse. Keep your study materials in one place, so you won’t have to go hunting for them when it’s time to work on school. Use a calendar to keep track of important deadlines, test dates, and other appointments and responsibilities.
Another benefit of being organized is that writing things down and making lists gets all of that worry out of your head. So instead of trying to remember when little Timmy’s soccer game is, when you planned on finishing your latest unit in school, and when you’re working late, your calendar keeps track of it for you and you can focus more completely on the task at hand.
Take Advantage of Support Groups
No matter how busy your life it, we all need positive interactions with others. Having a good support group makes all the difference. When you’re in school, take advantage of all your support groups—whether it’s family or friends who can take the kids for a bit so you can get in some study time or a close friend who can listen to you vent when things get hard.
Many schools, especially online ones, have online forums and networks where you can connect with other students. Take advantage of these resources to find study buddies and friends who can support you throughout your time as a student.
This one may be the most fun of all of our tips. When you achieve a goal or a milestone in school, celebrate it! Make cupcakes, have a mini dance party, go out to eat—whatever sounds like a celebration to you, make it happen! Knowing you have a something to look forward to at the end of each of your goals will help you stay motivated, and little celebrations can give us a break from the everyday grind.
So there you have it! Four more strategies that can help you maintain a healthy work/life balance even with you pile the responsibilities of a student on your already full plate.
If you haven’t yet taken the plunge to go back to school, consider an online training program. They offer a little more flexibility, which can make a big difference in maintaining work/life balance. Learn more about Career Step’s online programs that can be completed in a year or less at CareerStep.com/military-spouse.