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Balancing Studies with Other Facets of Life

In: People

Submitted By ummyaqoub
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For some people, distance learning is the only choice they have to further their education. At the same time, it is the most appropriate choice for people who have work and family responsibilities to juggle with. However, it is a task that is difficult to accomplish, unless they work out a way to balance their everyday activities along with studies. I have learned that, in order to balance my family life, work life, and progress with my education, all at the same time, I have to be super organized, realistic with my goals and ask for help when I need it. Organization is the first step and the foundation for successfully balancing studies with my other responsibilities in life. I have learned that for each minute of time spent organizing, I can earn a great deal of time. So, every night, before I go to bed, I write down two lists. One that lists the urgent tasks, that have immediate deadlines, that need to be accomplished the next day, and the other with important tasks that, in the event that I’m super busy, can wait to be accomplished a day or two later. On the urgent task list, I include things such as work deadlines, doctor appointments, workout timings, teacher meetings, sports for kids, and of course, pending college assignments. On the important task list, I include things such as deliveries for my honey selling business, mail pick-ups at the post office, groceries, and car washes or oil changes. Then, I update my Google calendar, with both lists, which I have synchronized with my wife’s calendar as well as with that of my brother, so that they remain updated, in case there are any changes or if I ever need a helping hand. On the calendar, each of my tasks is color coded, according to the type it comes under: family responsibilities, work or studies; and timed. The good thing about using the Google calendar is that I don’t need to carry separate lists with me everywhere. I can comfortably view all the tasks through my mobile phone, laptop at work or my personal computer at home. I separate the urgent tasks from the important tasks by setting reminders and alarms for the urgent tasks. As I accomplish each task, I delete it, and with every deletion on the calendar, I feel more accomplished and satisfied. And because my Penn Foster studies are on my urgent list of tasks, I have yet a day to go by when I haven’t opened my books! Organizing through technology this way, has greatly helped me become focused and stay on track especially with my Bachelor Degree program. Although organizing has greatly helped me overcome the hurdle of balancing studies with other responsibilities, I have also learned, that along with organization, I have to effectively set realistic goals to keep myself from burning out. So, to begin with, I set myself a maximum limit of time for my responsibilities at work, assuring myself with the fact that, no matter how long I stay at work and how hard I work, there will always be more work to do. This way, once the clock strikes 1pm, I force myself to leave work, because if I don’t, my family responsibilities will suffer. Likewise, all the time spent in activities with my family is also under a limit, which I adhere to, so that it doesn’t clash with my next responsibility, which is studying. The time allotted to studying and completing my assignments is half an hour every night at 8pm. Setting a time limit for studies allows me to effectively study consistently, even if in small amounts, rather than leave all my assignments for the weekend, and get burnt out, as well as ignore all the rest of my responsibilities on those days. At the end of the week, which is when I take time off studying and work, I allow myself and my family, a little treat, perhaps a movie at the cinema or an outing with my friends and family, only on the condition that I adhere to the timings and complete my assignments throughout the week. This motivates me to continue to work hard and keep up so that I can look forward to my next treat. And my family also encourages and helps me abide by my study timings because they look forward to the treat at the end of the week as well. By following these simple limits, I’m successfully able to keep up with my tasks without becoming overwhelmed and stressed out. No matter how organized a distance learning student is, or how realistic their goals may be, there will always be times when he will need help from the people around him. I have learned that, with the ups and downs of life and its responsibilities, it is very important to let people know when you need a helping hand and more importantly, it is okay to ask people for help. So, when things get overwhelming, especially when assignments or exams are due, I know that I can always count on my brother to do a few runs for me outside the house, like picking up mail from the post office, or picking up groceries for me when he goes grocery shopping for himself and his family. Next, I can count on my wife on going to teacher meetings without me when times get overwhelming sometimes. Finally, I know that I can always delegate my sons to do the easier part of my chores like ironing or washing dishes once in a while. The benefit of having my calendar synchronized with that of my brother and wife is that, during the times when assignments are due or an exam comes up, they are aware that I may turn to them for a favor or two. These small sacrifices, made by my family members, take a huge pressure off my shoulders, and it has been the key to the consistent progress and success of my studies. For sure, asking for help has relieved me in a range of manners. Overall, distance learning has not only helped me advance in my education but has also helped me become an organized and responsible individual. I have learned that I can successfully balance family life, work life and education by working in my limits, setting realistic goals and asking for help when I need it. It has also taught me that scheduling and timetabling can greatly affect one’s accomplishment of daily tasks. Balancing the three facets of life can be challenging, but with organization and help around you, it is definitely achievable.

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