How to find a balance between studies, work, and life?
Life is just that – all-inclusive. If you think about it, there was rarely a period, well apart from the very childhood of yours, when responsibilities, expectations, and the enthusiasm to enjoy yourself did not struggle against one another in the never-ending fight for your time…
Do you agree…?
If so, this article is just what you need to help you in this year’s efforts. Whether you’re about to go back to university, are starting a new job, or would like to find a little more time to spend with your loved ones, read on, because I have some tricks to show you. There is a way, a formula, to find balance in life. The only question is – are you willing to try?
What’s your priority…?
I know this might sound crazy, but let’s find out where your focus lies. What do you care about the most? Is it the new job, your partner, or your degree? Don’t worry if you find it difficult to answer. Most people do. But you need to set your priorities straight before your life-administration process begins.
So, what is it? Just choose one and write it down above the others. It doesn’t matter which one you choose – there are no wrong answers. You must make the choice though because you need to focus your attention somewhere…
Time is your servant, not your boss…
Okay, let’s say you’ve made the choice. Now you must decide when you will be spending your precious time. Of course, some of the activities like lectures or 9-5’s might disallow you to change much of your schedule but working around it is always possible.
For example, if your most important task of the day is to study, enforcing undisturbed learning space in the early morning or late evening is a good way of keeping time in check. When are you best at that activity? Do you feel that there is no better moment to study but just before bed? Or maybe you prefer an after-work homework routine? Whatever it is, make sure you choose this period of time carefully and stick to it. This is your ‘must’. No one, even your friends and family, should be able to interrupt these precious minutes of yours.
So, become responsible for your priority task time and utilise it well…
But what about…?
I bet that with the last point I stirred some powerful emotions within you. Do you feel uneasy with the idea of turning your loved ones away when the important study session takes place…? I know I did.
You have to realise though that attending to your responsibilities, especially those that need to be done in solitude, is a serious matter. If like me, you wish to write more, carving out the time to type paragraphs of thoughts without others bothering you is necessary. Otherwise, you are letting the noise of the world ‘out there’ dictate your life’s course.
So, communicate it well. Let your second half or friends know, that at this particular moment in the day, you attend to your priorities, and ask for their support rather than excuse yourself. When you get your point across, those brief moments of absence will fuel your passion for life and inevitably enrich your relationships with others. With you happier, they will be happier too!
Come up with a routine…
I know this sounds like a trap. A routine, a schedule, a timetable – no one likes those right…? Well, truth be told, without a certain order of things most of us would just go mad. Your mind is not able to deal constructively with life’s expectations if there is no space for it to let go. A routine I have in mind should not be your prison, it should be your safe house. A well-designed, personalised schedule will not only put your perception at ease it will also allow you to focus on one thing at a time and empower your attention span to grow.
With the current state of the world, distractions are everywhere. Literally. Even on this page, you can see at least four different sources of information that want to grab your focus. That’s life. By creating your undisturbed zone, scheduling tasks you have to execute throughout the day, and leaving the least important ones undone, you will help yourself in becoming more productive and less agitated. A side effect of a peaceful mind is possible…
So, make a conscious effort in creating a schedule. You could, for example, stick to a routine of your design throughout the working week, and give yourself the weekends free of it. Whatever you choose, let the pace be relevant to your life’s wishes and needs.
Give yourself some praise…
This is such a cliché, that most of us forget about it on the spot. How often do you admit to yourself that you’ve done a good job? How often do you feel proud of acknowledging your efforts?
If you’re anything like me, you do not do it often enough. As human beings, we are wired to solve problems and constantly progress, but there is a lack in our programming when it comes to self-appreciation. It just isn’t so important when seen through the lens of our survival-driven mind. That is why, with all the intention and generosity, you have to praise yourself.
Whether after completing a major project at work, submitting the semestral assignment, or organising a great birthday party for your flatmate, you should notice, appreciate, and celebrate your effort, which will empower your dedication to do even better next time. Otherwise, you are just grinding, and that’s not what life is about.
So, give yourself some praise, and notice your successes often.
Improvise, adapt, overcome…
The attitude of doing better next time should be yours. Always. But do not put yourself down when something doesn’t work out perfectly. With the few tricks shared above, you are well equipped for this year’s adventures. It is up to you, however, to what extent and with what level of persistence will you exercise them. Remember, that whatever you find worth doing, you should continue over time. There is an exquisite quality in the conscious, dedicated, and persistent effort.
So, take care of yourself, prioritise your tasks, stay in charge of your time, and enjoy the ride. Dr Seuss has put it perfectly: “Step with care and great tact. And remember life’s a great balancing act.”
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