By Dr. Jill Fuson
Faculty Director, School of Business at American Public University
Do you ever feel there is not enough time during the day to accommodate the multitude of tasks demanded of you? You are not alone; millions of people feel overwhelmed with work, family and life in general but then many are adding getting a degree to the mix. How can one person achieve it all? Start by breaking down each day and controlling the hours of the day/night. You are already committed a certain amount of hours to your job so focus your attention on things that you are able to control. Once you are in a comfortable schedule, you will not feel so overwhelmed.
Finding the right balance to a productive schedule is very important. Here are a few ways to assist in bringing more balanced in your daily routine:
1. Commit to what is important to you
In today’s workforce, having a degree is a MUST. Even if you have worked for an organization for 20 years, getting a degree while working shows your employer you have the initiative to better yourself and the discipline to go to school while still working. Organizations are looking for committed employees who are willing to better themselves which in-turn will benefit their job. Going back to school will take away some of your downtime, but upon completion of a degree, will greatly benefit your current and future job opportunities.
[see also: Should a College Degree be on Your Bucket List?]
2. Build downtime
When planning your week, be sure to include time for your family and friends. Having something to look forward to gives you an extra incentive in managing your time so you won’t be late to enjoy your downtime. Also, try and incorporate activities with your family and friends to help you recharge from the busy day/week while freeing your mind from work tasks. Discovering more ways to devote time to activities and friends/family will help beat burnout.
3. Identify activities that zap your time and energy
Be aware of the activities you have been sucked into that waste your downtime. Many times we get into a schedule of wasting time and we are not even aware it is happening. Are you staying after work talking with colleagues who are gossiping about work or venting about their personal life? Minimize the time you spend with them by adhering to the schedule you have made to make the most of your downtime.
4. Treat your errands as a required task but be wise when scheduling them
By carefully scheduling your errands considering location and time needed to accomplish the errand, you might be able to find extra downtime. Group location of errands to save time and gas while saving precious downtime.
5. Get Moving
After a long, hard day at work, many would love to go home, kick off their shoes and relax in their favorite recliner. Relaxation is good, but try and put exercise into your schedule. Experts claim exercise will boost your ability to concentrate as well as your energy level.
Be realistic in planning your schedule. Slowly build into your schedule some downtime so you are not overwhelmed with the task of trying to find large chunks of time to enjoy friends, family, activities, etc. During those hectic days, take 30 minutes to take a walk, listen to music or read a chapter or two in a novel. Maybe once a week you can schedule a tennis match with a friend. By slowly incorporating enjoyment into your downtime and bringing balance to your life, you will feel more relaxed with your hectic but also healthy schedule.
Uscher, J. (2012). 5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/5-strategies-for-life-balance
About the Author:
Dr. Jill Fuson, Faculty Director for the School of Business, has been with APUS for six years. She has a PhD from Capella University, Masters Degree from Webster University and Undergraduate Degree from University of Maryland, European Division. She currently teaches Graduate Human Resource courses. Her husband, Dale, who served 23 years in the Air Force is now retired and they make Tennessee their home. Jill is also a published author and has written a children’s book, Emma Puddleducks, named after their first granddaughter Emma.