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 important responsibilities is certainly courageous and worthwhile, but it can also be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.
Here are five tips to help you maintain your balance (and your sanity) while juggling school and the rest of life’s responsibilities.
Set small, achievable goals that match your main goal
You can set them in weekly or monthly increments. Achieving mini-goals can help keep you motivated and energized to keep moving forward.
Put your life on 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 study. This will help you prioritize your goals and manage your time.
Try to plan your day in 30 minute increments to maximize productivity. It can also help you determine when activities are taking longer than expected, so that you can adapt to the future and make sure you spend the time needed to complete each task.
Let something go
Evaluate all of your responsibilities now. Prioritize what should stay 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, maybe you are heavily involved with a nonprofit organization that is close to your heart. If that adds two extra hours of work to your week, maybe it’s time to put it on hold. Delegate responsibility to people you trust, so you have peace of mind (and time) to focus on other things.
Use available resources
This includes things that will speed up your understanding of topics, such as tutoring. From the start of your program, take the time to identify the resources available to you. Think about what would be helpful to you and ask if it exists.
Resources can also include friends and family who may be willing to lend a hand, especially when they are aware of what you are trying to accomplish.
Take some time for yourself
I know I know. You’re busier than ever trying to juggle everything. Not giving yourself a break can work for a while, but you’ll likely tire out in the end.
Plan regular breaks, whether it’s a few hours of fun or a full weekend.
Haley Foutch, EdS, NCC is a Senior Career Advisor at Phoenix University. The University of Phoenix is innovating to help working adults make the effective transition from education to career in a rapidly changing world. Flexible hours, relevant and engaging classes, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue their professional and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives.