Sunday, March 15, 2015

Off-Topic Sunday: Work-Study-Life Balance

Welcome to Off-Topic Sunday, a tag that I'm using to post whatever is floating in my head that I want to chat about. For the most part, they'll be book-related but you may occasionally see some non-book-related posts/rants as well.

Work-study-life balance, does it really exist?

It's been awhile since I last blogged - for a variety of reasons. First, my car broke down, so I had to spend ages getting a replacement car. Then my laptop broke all of a sudden without warning, so I had to rush to the store and buy a new laptop. Ugh, I'm feeling very broke at the moment. On top of that, I have grueling 14.5hr shifts at work for the next 7 days plus late night classes twice a week. Suffice to say in the work-study-life balance, work dominates (it's full-time after all), study closely follows and life is practically non-existent. And sleep? Who needs it really?

Hehe, I'm having a great self-pity party at the moment.
But more seriously, as I mentally prepare myself for this upcoming weekend of non-stop work, I wonder how on earth other people manage to fabulously keep everything organized and be on top of things and still have time to dedicate to their social life. Is it because I'm naturally a procrastinator? Or because I don't seem to set goals very well? Or because I don't set aside time for my social life or study as well as I should?

So there I was, on a sad Friday night catching the night train home to catch 5 hours of sleep before getting up to work again, googling "work, life, study balance". I'm not sure I've found the answer to my problem but the search results highlight a few tips for those similar to myself out there.

1. Manage your time effectively
You really need to find a system that works for you. If you are someone who can manage all their commitments on electronic calendars or via their smart phones, then stick to that. If you find that you're needing to jot everything down with paper and pen, then maybe old-fashioned diaries are the way to go.

Personally, I'm a paper and pen type of person. This year, I'm juggling everything in my Kikki K week-at-a-glance diary. In previous years, I've been using day-per-page planners because when I have multiple classes and commitment going on, every day is one appointment after another so it was really important for me to have a visual outline of where my spare time during the day is. Now that I'm working full-time with crazy long hours, I found last year day-per-page was too much space since each day is either work or day-off in which case I cram in study/errands. So this year I've switched to week-at-a-glance and am so happy I've done so.

2. Set goals for yourself
It is so easy to just focus on the next day and work, sleep, eat, rinse and repeat without really thinking about what exactly you're doing all this for. Often, I've found myself completely and utterly immersed in work and letting all other aspects of my life, this blog included, fade into oblivion. Which is why it's important to set goals, whether that is daily, weekly or monthly, and frequently reflect on them to see whether or not you've made any progress towards them.

3. Be realistic
We're all human. There is only so much you can put on your plate. If you find yourself spread too thin, then maybe it's time to re-evaluate and see how much you can realistically do everything you've set yourself to do. Figure out what isn't essential and whether or not you can bear to part with it.

I know I haven't got the perfect solution. I don't even know such a thing exists. All I know is I need to get in control of my balance because what I am doing now is just not sustainable. 

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