5 tips to help working adults going back to school maintain balance
You have goals and dreams. You have ideas for transforming your career through higher education. You also have a life. Going back to school when you have other major responsibilities is certainly courageous and worthwhile, but it also may be one of the most difficult things you ever do. Here are five tips to help maintain your balance (and your sanity) while juggling school and the rest of life’s responsibilities.
1. Set small, actionable goals that align with your main goal. You can set these in weekly or monthly increments. Achieving mini goals can help you stay motivated and energized to keep pushing forward.
2. Put your life into your calendar. Create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. It should include everything from family activities to the time you designate for studying. This will help you prioritize goals and manage your time. Try scheduling out your day in 30-minute increments to maximize productivity. This can also help you determine when activities take longer than planned, so you can adjust moving forward and ensure you devote the appropriate time needed to accomplish each task.
3. Let something go. Assess all of your responsibilities right now. Prioritize what must remain in your hands and what you can let go. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the process; however, it can make a huge difference in your stress level. For example, perhaps you are heavily involved in a nonprofit near and dear to your heart. If this adds an extra two hours of work to your week, it may be time to put it on hold. Delegate responsibilities to people who are trustworthy, so you have peace of mind (and time) to focus on other things.
4. Utilize the resources available. This includes things that will speed up your comprehension of subjects, such as tutoring. From the beginning of your program, take time to identify the resources offered to you. Reflect on what would be helpful to you and ask if it exists. Resources can also include supportive friends and family who may be willing to lend a hand, particularly when they are aware of what you are trying to accomplish.
5. Take time for yourself. I know, I know. You are busier than ever trying to juggle everything. Not allowing yourself a break may work for a bit, but eventually you are likely to burn out. Schedule regular breaks, whether it is a few hours of fun or a full weekend away.
Haley Foutch, EdS, NCC is a Senior Career Counselor at University of Phoenix. University of Phoenix is innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives.