I am about one month into my MBA program, and let me tell you, it has not been easy. From what I have gathered from my experience, today I will give you a few tips that might have the power to make my life, and even yours, easier.
Do I actually follow most of these? Probably not. Although, I should know better considering I am writing this after all. So here goes nothing!
Location, location, location.
This is a hard one for most students. Once you are older, you probably own a home somewhere and your mobility is conditioned, but I highly recommend working, living and studying within the same radius of distance. Your life and time management will be easier without the stress of a long commute.
Be smart about credit hours and course difficulty.
Don’t take on more than you can manage, especially in the beginning. Going back to school is a big shock and starting out with one too many credit hours might not be the wisest choice. The way I see it, you just entered a very long race and you don’t want to get tired during the first leg. Along those same lines, whenever you take more than one or two classes at the time, always remember to balance difficult courses with easier electives, that way you will not tire yourself out with two or three very demanding courses.
The triad: sleep, eat healthy and work out.
In that order, these three are very, very important. If you are tired, you can’t function or won’t have the energy and motivation you need to eat healthy or work out. Likewise, eating junk food will only make you slower. Eat “brain food” so you can always be on your A game. Additionally, try to decrease alcohol consumption so your body stays balanced for the challenges to come.
Create a plan of attack for everything!
You will have to master many roles as a student, an employee and as an active member of your family. Create blocks of time to manage each. It feels foreign to schedule “family time,” but compartmentalizing will help you focus on the activity in front of you. Using a system like this one, you will be able to center your full attention to your family, job, and classes and study time without drifting off and worrying about all the things you have to do. You have allotted time to do all these things effectively so you won’t be able to drop the ball! And a block of time for sleeping, or doing nothing for an hour or two is never a bad idea.
Break up with Netflix.
Seriously. Once you start binge watching Breaking Bad, there is no going back. Just break up with Netflix and their evil “next show will start in 15 seconds.” It is a loop of death that will throw you off your game. Same goes for Hulu, Amazon Prime, cable T.V., reddit, imgur and video games! Just… STOP.
Learn about your limitations.
This is graduate school. If you were an overachiever in school before, you can’t have the same standards at this level, because guess what? Your responsibility is not only school. As an MBA student, my rule is this: “As long as I am learning, I am OK!” That’s why I am going back to school–to learn. Not to get straight A’s. Some professors are hard graders, and I am not going to waste time trying to figure out what exactly would get me an A with that specific method of teaching. Instead, I’d rather spend time discerning what information will make me a better professional, and what concepts are important to further my career.
My parting words are: Good Luck! You will need it. Motivation is an everyday thing. But if you are committed, you will finish the race. Even though you might have to keep yourself running on very high levels of caffeine and very low levels of social life, you can do it! Do drink water from time to time, and go out for lunch with a friend or two!
How do you gain the perfect work-life balance? Share your tips with us!