School Work and Life Balance

Two areas to consider for work-life-school balance are stress reduction and time management.

Stress reduction: Get rest, exercise, and quiet time. Make sure you set aside time for social activities and fun.

Time management: When it comes to time management, it’s essential to remember one critical element: You've got the time! Time is one of the very few equal-opportunity resources. This means that you have the same 24 hours a day and 7 days per week that your classmates do. However, how you use this time and what you need to do with it likely varies a lot.

The idea is to approach time as if you are in control. When you say you don’t have enough time to do something, you might really be saying that you are not spending the time you do have well.

There are three main principles of effective time management:

  1. Know exactly what you want: This means stating your wants as clearly written goals.
  2. Know how to get what you want: This means taking action and doing what you need to do today to get what you want in the future.
  3. Go for balance: When our lives lack balance, we spend too much time putting out fires and fixing problems. The principle of going for balance means focusing, whenever possible, on a balance between achieving your goals along with the goals of others.

For many of us, time management includes some form of list making or calendar system. There are several different systems designed to help you organize your time and thoughts to make the most of your available time. The truth is that no one method is perfect for everyone! You may need to experiment to find the way that works best for you and your life.

Here are some ideas for starting on the right foot with time management in your online courses:

  • Print a copy of each syllabus and schedule during the first few days of class.
  • Highlight each of the major assignments and due dates.
  • Mark standard due dates on your calendar (e.g., “discussion post due on Wednesday night each week”).
  • Review due dates that may coincide with other classes, and plan the week ahead of time. For example, if you have a paper due in Class 1 and a project due in Class 2 during the same week, then you likely will need to begin one project early and organize your time during the week to ensure that you can complete both projects successfully and on time.