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Balancing Family Time, Work, and School

Balancing Family Time, Work, and School
Posted on April 13, 2023 by CHS

Daily life can be challenging and when we add going back to school, having a child, or working, learning to balance our time efficiently becomes increasingly important. Below are a few suggested steps that can assist in organizing your schedule, reducing stress, and staying motivated.

Plan Ahead
Create a daily or weekly plan to ensure there is enough time for you to get everything done. Keeping a calendar or a planner can help you stay organized, and prevent you from missing responsibilities and important events. Use it to keep track of appointments and set deadlines for projects so you can pace yourself and complete a task before it is due. This will help you feel less overwhelmed. For example, if you are taking a class, once you’ve received your course syllabus you can add important dates such as exams, quizzes, or assignments to your calendar. This way you can stay on top of them and plan any outings or important events around these dates.

Group Tasks Together
Make good use of opportunities to combine activities. If you have tasks that you are able to do simultaneously, such as a reading assignment while waiting in a doctor’s office, listening to a lecture or an audiobook while folding laundry, or incorporating your child(ren) in an exercise routine with you, it may help you feel more productive. These are just a few examples of the many ways in which you can complete multiple tasks at the same time and keep your motivation going.

Designate Time and Space for Studying and Homework
Set time aside each day to study and do homework as a family. This is a great way to focus on school and teach your child(ren) the importance of education. Designating a time and space can also help you keep clutter and chaos in one area. For example, some people use their dinner table as a homework space, which may lead to feeling frustrated when they want to sit down for a meal, but cannot because the table is full of schoolwork. By designating a time and space for school work, you can maintain your focus on your studies, minimize distractions, and help you feel more in control, rather than your surroundings controlling you. When homework is done, you and your child(ren) can immediately put it away in your school bags so it is ready for the next day.

Build a Support System and Ask for Help
One of the difficulties of balancing life’s tasks is believing you must do everything on your own. Rather than assuming all of your responsibilities alone, reach out to your informal and formal communities for help. These can be coworkers, friends, classmates, church, mosque, or temple members, mentors,or family members, just to name a few. By asking for help, we can identify areas in our lives where we need support with current challenges, which demonstrates strength and confidence. Additionally, making friends with classmates can be beneficial in many ways. It can help you create study groups, connect with others who can understand what you may be going through with a busy schedule and, in turn, provide an opportunity to socialize. Lastly, talk to your child(ren), even if they may not fully understand, and share your hopes and goals and how it will benefit the whole family in the future. Communicating with your child(ren) about your goals sets an example for the value in hard work, and builds a healthy relationship where they can feel important and valued. It also models goal-setting, hard work, and discipline, which children will reflect back on when developing their own dreams for their future.

Meal Prep
After getting home from work or school, it can be stressful to plan and cook a meal for your family. A few ways to combat this is to prepare ingredients for easy cooking, or prepare full meals for simple reheating. Add a time or day to your schedule to complete meal prepping tasks, such as chopping up vegetables, and cooking ingredients or meals in advance so they are quickly and easily accessible when preparing meals. There are also web applications (apps) that help you plan meals for the week. These apps help you select simple recipes, generate lists for you to use when shopping, or even schedule a grocery pick-up order.

Schedule “Me Time” and Set Boundaries
Though it may feel strange at first, it is important to schedule time for yourself on your calendar. This allows you to prioritize yourself and set healthy boundaries. It is also important to differentiate between “relaxation” and “downtime.” Relaxation is intentional and allows you to renew and refresh, while downtime may have an adverse effect and make you feel you have wasted time when you could have been productive. Dedicating a day or even an afternoon to a relaxing activity will help relieve stress and give you something to look forward to, especially during very busy times. You can also schedule time for yourself each day, even if it is only fifteen or twenty minutes. Try eating lunch in a park, taking a bath, or listening to music.

Staying Motivated
If you are having trouble staying motivated, try shifting your focus to smaller, attainable goals. Especially if your goal will take a few years to complete, focus on making and completing the smaller goals along the way. You can also focus on changing your daily habits. As you build better habits, you slowly change your lifestyle and as a result, your new lifestyle will bring you closer to achieving the goals you wish to accomplish. Another great motivator is to reward yourself. You can do this by celebrating your accomplishments with your family in order to keep yourself excited on your journey to success.

Quick Tips to Keep in Mind!

  • Use a meal planning app to save idle time in the kitchen
  • Use a calendar on your phone to help send you reminders
  • Remember your “why” and reward yourself to stay motivated

Balancing work, school and family time can be stressful. When we take steps to spend time with family, set aside time for schoolwork, organize our schedules, and connect with others, we can reduce stress and stay motivated. Remember your goals and why you’re working so hard now. Focus on your journey and creating healthy habits for yourself. Once you have made new habits, everyday will run smoother and unexpected events will not have as much of a significant impact. Also, remember to spend time with your family and enjoy your time together. These little moments of joy can help you stay positive when you are feeling frustrated by school or work.

References and Resources

10 Tips for Balancing Work, School and Family - webpage by The George Washington University School of Business
8 Essential Tips on How to Balance Work, School, and Family Life - webpage by Bay
Communicating well with babies and children: tips - webpage by the Australian parenting website Atlantic University
How to Stay Motivated and Break Bad Habits – video by James Clear with Motivation2Study
Tips for Staying Motivated Ahead of College - webpage by BigFuture
Tips to Balance Family, Work, and School - webpage by University of Massachusetts Global
Work, Parenting, and College: 5 Tips to be Successful - resource by Point Loma Nazarene University

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