Finding a Better Balance
Keeping a healthy balance in your life can be hard. And if you're contemplating going back to school as an adult, maintaining some kind of equilibrium in your life can appear nearly impossible. But remaining at the top of your game while introducing another element into your work/life equation is not only possible; it's easily achievable if you have a game plan.
Consider Alternative Education
Attending college, especially as an adult, is a big commitment. If you have a full time job and a family, going to a traditional college with rigid class schedules and inflexible course requirements can clash with your other pressing responsibilities. Online learning allows more flexibility and doesn't tie you to a schedule that may conflict with earning a paycheck and spending quality time with your family. And instead of spending money on gasoline for daily commutes to and from a university campus, all you need to enter the classroom is a computer and an Internet connection.
It's easy to spend large portions of the day being very busy without actually being effective. Multi-tasking is sometimes unavoidable but is often inefficient and can lead to feeling busy but not executing priorities properly. A good way to avoid the multi-tasking trap is found in a low-tech solution that your mother may have recommended when you were a kid: Wake up earlier. Waking up late and rushing around can create a feeling of franticness that lingers long into the workday.
Having an extra half hour in the morning is an excellent start. Start your morning in a calm meditative manner and begin to identify the most important tasks in the on-coming day. What's the most crucial priority? What has to get done before another task is possible? Once you work your thought processes through what you need to get done in the day, get a pen and paper and start writing down your action items in order. You'll find that you can get through your tasks much more efficiently and cut down on inefficient and time-wasting work habits.
Learn To Unplug
Take the time you save by working more efficiently and use it to unplug and unwind. It's easy to fall into the trap of spending all day looking at your laptop screen, only to get home from work and immediately fire up the computer again. Try to set aside times that are television and laptop-free times. A great way to enjoy your unplugged times is to begin reading again. Remember when reading was fun and you could lose yourself in a good book? You likely still can. Having a mandatory unplugged time can allow you to rediscover reading and regain some balance.
Walking is another activity to consider during these relaxing unplugged set aside times. One of the important parts of the work/life balance is exercise and it's often the first activity to be sacrificed when we get busy. Taking a long relaxing walk three times a week is not only a great way to stay in shape, it can be a great time to take stock of what you've accomplished as the day is ending. And if quality time with your family has been in short supply, consider taking walks together and regain some quality family bonding.
Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/11011110/107883744/sizes/m/in/photostream/