The Art of Finding Balance
Written by Asia Blossom
Mastering effective time management is more than just a skill; it’s a fundamental pillar of success for adults who find themselves balancing multiple roles. In the midst of a whirlwind of daily activities and responsibilities, lacking proper time management can lead to lateness, missed deadlines, and persistent frustration. However, it’s essential to recognize that these responsibilities don’t have to permanently overshadow our personal dreams and aspirations.
For many, like me, the realization of balancing my time effectively came when I found myself with mornings dedicated to both work and childcare, leaving evenings free. I work full-time remotely as a Documentation Specialist. This gives me the freedom to be home with my child instead of paying for childcare services. I was determined to maximize this available time, but my search for night classes that could accommodate my work schedule proved to be a prolonged and frustrating endeavor. At one point, I even considered self-paced courses, only to realize that my lack of genuine interest in the subject matter resulted in a disappointing investment of both time and money.
However, a ray of hope emerged when I discovered American National University and its Global Learning program. I proceeded with the application process, which turned out to be a seamless and straightforward experience. Much to my relief, I received an acceptance, my financial aid significantly covered my expenses, and the ease of accessing all my resources with a mere click made the venture even more enticing. Amid my excitement, a touch of skepticism lingered, as everything appeared almost too good to be true!
The keystone of our academic tools is the Canvas platform, which is an app and website. It is integral to our success at ANU. Canvas serves as a one-stop resource hub, offering an array of features to streamline our educational journey. With it, we can effortlessly attend our classes via Zoom where all students keep their cameras on and participate like they would in a physical classroom, keep track of assignment deadlines, stay ahead on coursework, and access the ANU library. Inside Canvas you can find another useful tool called Bookshelf. Bookshelf houses all the essential course reading materials. This feature is particularly dear to me, as it not only saves students valuable time but also prevents unnecessary expenses incurred by choosing the wrong reading materials. We can highlight, take notes, and create flashcards using Bookshelf’s features. Canvas additionally showcases feedback from instructors on your assignments. The wealth of resources doesn’t stop there; we’re merely scratching the surface! We find additional essential resources such as student emails, Career Connect, the writing center, and the student store right at our fingertips. For those who thrive on group collaboration, Canvas facilitates group chats involving enrolled students and instructors. It also offers a means to contact individuals without needing their contact information. In essence, Canvas provides an all-encompassing, virtual college experience, eliminating the need for physical attendance, and it truly is remarkable.
Considering these factors, there may be moments when one confronts the overwhelming challenges of dealing with multiple responsibilities. Some days, individuals might ponder, “Is it possible to thrive while simultaneously juggling these numerous responsibilities?” As exemplified in my journey, finding the right tools and resources can make a significant difference. I can affirm that it is indeed possible.
Here, I’ll share a few valuable tips and strategies I use to sustain success in both my professional and personal life:
Prioritize Tasks: Begin by identifying and prioritizing your tasks based on their importance and deadlines.
For me, this is paramount because tasks of greater significance often demand more time and attention. Starting with the most crucial task ensures that you deliver your best quality and effort.
- Create a Schedule: Establish a daily or weekly schedule that allocates dedicated time for work, childcare, study, and personal activities.
Personally, I maintain a monthly physical calendar to keep track of my priorities. This practice helps me maintain a consistent schedule and ensures that I never inadvertently miss any deadlines.
- Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: Divide larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, making them more achievable.
This approach has been particularly beneficial for my educational journey. Although it may not be ideal to dive into homework immediately after work, it has proven effective for me in this temporary phase. As a full-time student, managing three classes multiplies the workload. Given the flexibility to work from home during downtime, I find myself reading and completing homework throughout the week. This allows me to ensure timely submissions and deliver my best quality work without feeling rushed.
- Eliminate Distractions: Recognize and minimize distractions in your environment to enhance focus during work or study periods.
For parents, this can be challenging as our children frequently require our attention. In my case, the most opportune time to tackle homework is when my child is asleep for the night. Just as I maintain a daily and nightly routine, my child does as well. This arrangement minimizes potential disruptions and allows me to work more efficiently.
For individuals managing multiple roles, mastering effective time management is a crucial skill. As my own experience illustrates, the availability of supportive tools and resources can have a profound impact on one’s journey. The flexibility of my job and the invaluable resources provided by ANU played a pivotal role in shaping my path. With commitment and a well-crafted approach to time management, all can successfully navigate the intricacies of their lives while still chasing their dreams and aspirations.