"Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life" - Dolly Parton
A work-life balance is defined as “the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one's career and the demands of one's personal life”. A student’s life can be very hectic; having to do schoolwork, work a job, volunteer, and participate in extracurriculars within a set schedule can create a great burden on yourself. Not only this, but this work-filled schedule often leaves little time for students to enjoy life; to hang out with friends, spend time with family, etc. Furthermore, COVID-19 measures have made it even more difficult for students to find a work-life balance. To (better) balance your life, efficiently completing your work tasks while still being able to make time for leisure, here are some general tips!
Tip 1) Create a schedule that allots time for both work and leisure:
A great tip that I personally used to create more free time, is to create and adhere to a schedule! You can use a schedule to organize and plan how you will spend your time, therefore allotting you with time for not only work but your personal life. You can physically create a schedule (ex: with a whiteboard), or use a software to do so (ex: myHomework). Another great tip within using a schedule, is planning to work during your most productive hours and have your leisure time during your time of least productivity. Personally, I work better in the early morning and evening/night compared to the middle of the day, so I allot time for leisure during this afternoon time. However, the most important factor in a schedule is adhering to it. You must actually use your schedule for it to actually be of any effect!
Tip 2) Prioritize your well-being; work isn’t everything!
Yes, working hard to receive high marks, and going to a post-secondary institution is vital to most people’s academic success. However, you must remember that your own well-being is more important than achieving academic success. After all, what is there in life if your health is suffering and happiness is poor? Therefore, continue to stay on top of your schoolwork and other tasks, but make your happiness your first priority! Make time for yourself, even if (worse case scenario) it slightly sacrifices your other commitments! Finally, avoid indulging in unnecessary activities that may reduce your available free time. Some people may believe that being involved in multiple things (ex: volunteering at lots of places) is beneficial, but it may not be if causing you to suffer in health and happiness! To do so, you can create a ranking of priority and importance for activities in your life, ruling out the activities that are not benefiting you from your life. This would allot you for more ‘life’ in the work-life balance!
Tip 3) Create strategies that personally work for you!
Everyone is different, so the same strategies for work-life balancing do not work for everyone. Therefore, it is important to find your own personal strategies. However, there are some commonly-used strategies that you may find helpful! Firstly, a strategy is to find a source of motivation for yourself; this may be towards a bigger goal, but is better with short-term, simple goals. For example, you can create a goal that ‘if you finish your work within a set amount of time, then you will allow yourself to buy an item you want’. Another example of goal-creating would be saying that “if I finish my homework, then I will allow myself to play video games for an hour.” Personally, I have found this strategy to be very useful and push me to finish my schoolwork quicker. As mentioned before, you will need to do some self-reflection, research, and brainstorming to find the specific strategies that work best for you. However, remember that the most important part of creating a strategy is actually sticking to it!
Tip 4) Actually spend your free time, and wisely!
What is there to creating free time if you do not use it effectively, if not use it at all? The whole point of balancing your work and leisure life, is to complete your commitments (work) while continuing to find enjoyment (through free time) in life. Many people may create free time for themselves, yet spend it sleeping in and doing unbeneficial activities. Therefore, it is important that you still do activities that are beneficial to your happiness and health during your created free time. This may include exercising, finding new or indulging in hobbies/activities/sports, and even spending time with family! Although COVID may have restricted the availability of doing certain activities, there are many alternative options. If unsure of where to start, a good idea for starters is to simply indulge in walking, biking, and visiting nearby parks (but remember to social distance and stay safe!)
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