Meet Nicole. Nicole is at work, but it’s nearing 5pm, and all she can think about is if she will get out on time to pick her kids up from daycare. She’s staring at the clock, but the minute hand seems to be moving slower than ever. Nicole hasn’t even dared to think about the college essay she has to hand in tomorrow and hasn’t had the time to start.
Finally, 5 o’clock comes around to leave work, and she goes to pick up her two daughters from daycare. When she arrives home, she is utterly exhausted after a long day of work. The TV seems to be calling her name. All she longs for is to sit on the couch and watch an episode of her favorite TV show, but she has no time to. Nicole has to head straight to cooking dinner for her family. Once she’s done, she looks up at the clock, and it’s already 7pm!
Realizing that it’s already 7, panic starts to seep in. She doesn’t know if she’ll have enough time to finish her essay. She’s overwhelmed. It feels like all her life consists of are responsibilities. Her day to day involves stressing over college and work, and she never has time to dedicate to her hobbies.
This situation is not unique to Nicole. Non-traditional college students, who have more responsibilities than the average 18-year-old student, tend to find themselves in this position.
Here at Gradehacker, we help college students like Nicole with their college classes and accelerate their degrees. Throughout our years of experience, we have assisted students just like you—students whose time is limited, leaving them unable to balance their college and personal lives.
The students who reach out to us do so because their lives have become a repetitive sequence of responsibilities. And they can’t find the time to sit back and relax, due to overwhelming college demands.
In this article, we have gathered 5 tips that will help you balance your college and personal life so that you can stop feeling like you have to prioritize one or the other!
Why is a Healthy Balance Between College and Your Personal Life Important?
Many students tend to prioritize college and put their personal lives on standby. Although college is a priority, being able to indulge in your personal life is just as important.
Having an unhealthy balance between the two can affect your academic performance.
If you spend all the time you have available on college matters, you will end up losing motivation. This is because your day-to-day will not be fulfilling to you or grant you any happiness.
Not dedicating any time to your personal life can also take a toll on your relationships. When you are always declining time with family or friends, the closeness you once had might begin to disappear. It’s common for loved ones to take it personally when you never spend time with them.
Maintaining relationships with those close to you is very important. This is because when things get rough and you are overwhelmed with all your responsibilities. Having a source of support to turn to can alleviate your stress and help you cope.
5 tips for Balancing College and a Personal Life:
- Use Schedules and Calendars to Plan Out Your Time
- Find Time to Dedicate to Anything but College
- Avoid Being a Perfectionist
- Look After Yourself
- Know When to Ask for Help
Use Schedules and Calendars to Plan Out Your Time
It is impossible to reach a healthy balance between college and your personal life if you don’t plan ahead. When you are in a time crunch, you need to plan accordingly in order to finish college assignments but also have free time left over.
A calendar is a great way to visualize what you need to do in a long-term manner. Use a calendar to fill out any important college due dates that you know of. Also, be sure to jot down any responsibilities that aren’t college-related, and you have been notified of in advance.
Don’t forget the importance of using a weekly time schedule. By planning out your time weekly, you will be left with a more detailed notion of how you need to spend your time each day of the week. If you have a job, you can list out the hours you’ll be working, and in the remaining hours, write down when you will dedicate your time to college and what you will be working on.
By planning out your time, you won’t feel like you don’t have enough time to do what you need and want to do. As long as you make sure to follow the pace you set in your schedule, you’ll be able to create a balance between your responsibilities and leisure time.
Gradehacker uses and recommends Google Calendar app to really maximize both your productivity and your free time. Scheduling will always make your life easier.
Find Time to Dedicate to Anything but College
Making a time schedule so that you’re clear on how much time you need to spend on different tasks is essential. But, making sure to set aside some time each day to do activities you enjoy is just as important!
When you’re scheduling out your week, try to include some time where you can sit back and relax each day. Even if you have a busy week ahead, set out half an hour or more to just do you!
Believe it or not, finding time to work on anything but college will actually make you more productive. A study found that students who took breaks from studying were more successful than those who did not. Let your brain rest in between working on college classes!
As a busy college student, it’s also common to feel guilt when attending social activities instead of working on an assignment. Don’t be afraid to say yes to spontaneous social activities!
If your friend invites you out to dinner on Saturday, see if you can find a way around your time schedule, to go. The world will not fall apart due to you not following your time-schedule precisely as you planned! Also, spending social time will relieve you of stress and allow you to focus on things other than college.
Reward yourself for sticking to your time schedule by doing things you love! Doing activities not related to college will replenish the motivation needed to reach your academic goals.
Avoid Being a Perfectionist
The biggest mistake you can make as a college student who has additional responsibilities is being a perfectionist! When you work, have a family, and study, you have to manage your time wisely.
It is easy as a college student to want all your coursework to be perfect! As a perfectionist, you set high, often unrealistic, expectations for your assignments. As you will not settle for anything else, you may spend a lot of time nitpicking at your assignment.
You should have high standards for your college work but shouldn’t aim for it to be perfect all the time! When you are a perfectionist, you may find yourself concentrating all your time on that one assignment. This means even exceeding the time you had allocated for the assignment in your time schedule.
As you have a busier time schedule than most, you have to be realistic about what you’ll be able to do in the time you have. Do strive to do the best you can, but keep in mind your limited time. Try not to go over the time you set to work on that assignment because you end up leaving less time to focus on an activity you enjoy.
It is important to set a timer to remind you that the time you had planned on spending in your time schedule is over. If you find that you haven’t finished the assignment in the allocated time, go ahead and finish. But if you have finished and are just trying to make your work perfect, it’s time to call it a day!
In fact, you will learn most from the assignments that aren’t perfect and have mistakes.
Look After Yourself
When you are spending time on college work, it’s easy to center all your attention on just that and forget about looking after yourself. You might end up sitting for hours on end without getting up to eat a healthy snack or even to go to sleep.
It is necessary to know when to take a break from college work and prioritize your own physical and emotional wellbeing.
Set out time in your week to exercise! This will be beneficial for your emotional wellbeing as well as your academic performance. Exercising increases the oxygen your brain is receiving. The effects of this are greater memory, reasoning, and concentration. Therefore, exercising will give you the refreshment you need to continue working efficiently.
Doing physical activity will also supply you with endorphins. These endorphins will leave you feeling a lot happier and more positive. This will alleviate any feelings you have of being overwhelmed and stressed.
It is also common to forget about healthy snacking due to being absorbed by what you’re working on. Make sure you introduce healthy snacks in-between working on a college assignment or studying for a college exam. Eating nutritious snacks will give your body the necessary fuel you need to maintain concentration.
Another essential thing to keep in mind is knowing when to call it a day and head to bed. Don’t stay up all night just to finish an assignment. There are times when you will have to prioritize a good night of sleep even if you didn’t achieve what you wanted to.
Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep! A good night of sleep will give you the energy you need to meet your responsibilities the following day. It will also be effective in reducing stress.
Here are also a few tips you can follow up to incorporate better eating habits because what you eat affects every part of your life.
Know When to Ask for Help
It is easy to think that you have to find a way to do everything yourself. But an important skill is being capable of asking for help and being aware when you need it.
If you are feeling overwhelmed on a particular college assignment, don’t feel alone. You can reach out to your professor through an email. Professors are always willing to help. They might be able to give you an extension or even offer advice or resources that will help you with the assignment.
Well, what if you just have way too much on your plate? There are services online, such as Gradehacker, that can help you with your college work. Using a service like this is a smart move as it will reduce the number of assignments that will take up your time. In turn, you will have more time available, which you can use to establish a balance between college and your personal life.
Is It Even Possible to Balance College and a Personal Life?
It’s easy to fall into the routine of spending all your time on responsibilities. These responsibilities may include college, work, and family. When you have so many tasks to attend to, you may even believe that it’s impossible to have a healthy balance between college and your personal life.
But, the truth is that it is possible to establish a healthy balance between the two, even if your time is more limited than most people.
In order to avoid falling prisoner to your responsibilities, planning out your time is crucial! This is because you need to determine how you will be able to finish all your assignments in a manner that allows you extra time to do other things.
It’s always important to prioritize yourself and your well-being above any responsibility. Even on busy days, where you have lots to finish for college, you need to make sure you are practicing healthy habits. This includes eating healthy snacks, sleeping enough, and doing exercise.
Furthermore, engaging in social activities is very important. When you don’t, it’s easy to be prone to burnout and lose sight of your motivation for college.
We understand your stress due to having limited time and a pile of responsibilities to attend to. We hope these tips will help you maximize the time you have and not leave behind your personal life. If your college assignments are ridding you of any free time, don’t hesitate in reaching out to us for help. We would be happy to help you out with any college assignments that are taking up your time.
If you would like to learn more about improving your time-management, check out our article on 9 Hacks to Better Manage Your Time.