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Balancing Act: Why You Need Time Away From Studying, Work

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The American Time Use survey provides fascinating data on what we do each day — and how much time we spend doing it. Work takes up about 7.6 hours, sleeping 8.6, and eating and drinking 1.23 hours. On the days we do housework, we spend about 2 hours doing it. The days get shorter when we add in childcare, errands and more. Adult learners face another time balancing act, finding hours in a crowded day for studying. What gets left out? Free time or “me” time is often sacrificed.

“Many online learners tend to believe they can be masters of the universe, able to write 10-page papers, get the kids off to school, make dinner, and numerous other tasks. If only this were sustainable…” says John Moore, Ph.D., professor of health sciences at the online American Public University System.

Hectic schedules and layers of responsibilities can lead to burnout – and that can have a huge impact on a student’s ability to do well. Moore says that burnout can be a barrier to higher grades or even degree completion. But you can change this, and the solution may be simpler than you think.

“Make an appointment with yourself. Identify and commit to a time slot each day that includes a self-care component. This means blocking out a period of time where you focus exclusively on your wellness,” says Moore.

That’s right: Schedule time to be unscheduled. Some days, you may just take a 20-minute walk after dinner and before homework. Or you may dive into a hobby, such as photography or golfing. The key, says Moore, is to get away from your work or study place. This will help change your mind-set toward relaxing — or at least away from multi-tasking. 

“The reality is that finding that equilibrium between school, work and self-care is not always easy,” says Moore. “There will be days where the scales tilt more toward work and school. The key is making sure that every day isn’t like that. It’s all about recalibrating our time management skills.”

How do you start? Put down your textbooks. Step away from the computer. Take off your wristwatch. Engage in being you.

These resources can help you find ways to relax and recharge:

– By Online Learning Tips Staff

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