Creating a Work-Life Balance While Attending School

In today’s working world, achieving a balance between work responsibilities, personal life, and university commitments has become increasingly challenging, yet crucial, for the overall well-being of many adults. The concept of having a work-life (and academic) balance is the goal for most people– to have a life full of career achievements while fulfilled personally. Many adult students have experienced the pressures of juggling deadlines, assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities alongside work and personal responsibilities like taking care of a family and having a social life. This delicate balancing act often leads to stress, burnout, and a sense of overwhelm, affecting mental, emotional, and physical health. However, achieving work-life-academic balance isn’t simple equitably spreading time between your responsibilities with your personal wants. It’s more about prioritizing what truly matters to us and finding ways to integrate them harmoniously – even if that means there isn’t an equal share of time. Whether you’re a working professional pursuing higher education, a student managing academic demands alongside personal life, or managing all three – a family, a career, and an education – there are strategies that we’ll explore to find a balance between your roles without burning out completely.

What is a Work-Life Balance?

The first thing that everyone should know is that maintaining a balance between work, personal, and academic roles does not mean that you are dividing your time equally between all. And this balance is not a one-size-fits-all, magical slipper that anyone can put on to find their happily ever after. Jim Bird at even describes that your balance can change daily – and will vary in life. “The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you marry, or if you have children; when you start a new career versus when you are nearing retirement,” he explained. Life is unpredictable and because of that, we cannot predict what will give us balance for the day, so no routine will match every day.

Work-Life Balance involves prioritizing and allocating time and energy effectively to meet the demands of work, academic, and personal life, aiming for overall well-being and fulfillment in all areas. Achievement and fulfillment are instrumental in finding that balance. Finding achievements at work and school, like completing assignments or implementing new ideas, while finding fulfillment with family, friends, and personal wants all attribute to having a quality work-life balance.

How Do I Achieve This Balance?

As mentioned previously, no one shares the same balance – and the same balance doesn’t even exist from day-to-day. The work-life-academic balance is dependent on your needs and wants alone – but there are some things you can do to ensure that you are balancing everything.

  1. Set Priorities: What are your needs at work? What are they at home? What are they in your education? Identify those and focus on tasks and activities that align with these needs to ensure you are using your time and energy meaningfully. Accomplishing menial work does nothing to fulfill you or the best use of your time. And if your work, education, or time spent with family doesn’t fulfill you, you could be one step closer to burnout than balance.
  2. Establish Boundaries: Don’t let your different areas of life bleed into the others. Work should not spill into time with your family, academics shouldn’t impede your work, and any other combination. Set specific work hours, avoid checking emails outside of these hours, and communicate boundaries to colleagues and clients. For education, select specific days/times of the week to work on your studies and class work. And make sure to carve out time to spend unfettered with your family or friends. Having boundaries allows you to dedicate yourself to one responsibility at a time rather than trying to spread yourself too thin to get it all done.
  3. Manage Your Time Effectively: Use time management techniques to not only get all that you need completed, but to enforce those aforementioned boundaries. Read how an ANU student finds balance between working, going to school, and taking care of her son. Time Management strategies are important to striving a balance in your life.
  4. Practice Self Care: Finding your balance between your work, education, and personal responsibilities is important, but none of that can be achieved if you aren’t taking time to care for yourself as well. Prioritize self-care activities such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, healthy eating habits, and partaking in hobbies you enjoy – whether that’s crafting or video games. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial to finding that balance.
  5. Learn to Say No: It’s hard to say no when we know people are relying on us. However, always saying yes will end up doing more harm than good. Delegate tasks at work and home when possible to lighten your workload and free up time for priorities. Learn to say no to non-essential commitments that may contribute to overloading your schedule. Learning to say no is a self-care task all its own!
  6. Set Realistic Goals: As much as we all want to achieve great things, setting goals that aren’t impossible to reach is important to get where we want to be. Failing to achieve lofty goals can only fuel negative emotions both from us and those around us. Set realistic and achievable goals both professionally and personally. Avoid overcommitting or taking on more than you can handle, as this can lead to stress and imbalance. Setting SMART goals can help you achieve this balance.
  7. Collaborate: Don’t try to achieve balance all on your own. Work, education, and family are all built on collaboration and communication. Don’t hesitate to seek support from colleagues, friends, or family members when needed. Collaborate with others to share responsibilities, brainstorm solutions, and lighten the workload. Work projects are a team effort, study with your classmates, and lean on your partner, family, or friends for help in your personal life. No balance is ever found by doing everything alone.
  8. Unplug and Disconnect: With today’s technology driven world, screens are everywhere. Computers, televisions, smart phones, and more. It’s hard for us to escape a screen and all of the overwhelming information you can gain from them. To help achieve a balance, designate tech-free times, such as during meals or before bedtime, to disconnect from digital devices and focus on personal interactions, relaxation, or hobbies that don’t involve screens. The reasons to unplug are numerous, and you should take the time to be yourself without screens in the way.

In the pursuit of a fulfilling life, finding the right balance between work and personal commitments is key. Work-life balance isn’t just a concept; it’s a lifestyle that promotes well-being, happiness, and overall satisfaction. By implementing practical strategies such as, but not limited to, setting priorities, establishing boundaries, managing time effectively, and prioritizing self-care, individuals can create a blend of professional success, academic achievement, and personal fulfillment. As you strive for work-life-academic balance, remember that it’s not about achieving perfection but about making conscious choices that align with your values and priorities. It’s about recognizing that your well-being is interconnected with how you balance your responsibilities, passions, and self-care. Embracing balance allows you to lead a more fulfilling life, pursue goals with purpose, and cherish the moments that truly matter.

Translate »