Life is often a balancing act, and few balancing acts are as challenging as managing your education, work, and writing practice. With some thought and planning, it’s possible to strike a balance between the three. Here’s how to make sure you succeed in all three areas without letting one fall by the wayside.
Part of work-life balance is making time for activities outside of work. However, for many, the stresses of maintaining a balanced life lead to headaches, fatigue, and a lack of focus. Perhaps paradoxically, focusing on this balance can reduce effectiveness and efficiency in the work environment. By first focusing on avoiding distractions at work and improving your efficiency, you’ll be able to complete tasks quickly and reduce your time spent working. It may also help to do an audit of your time at work, this will help you see where you’re losing time.
Balancing work, writing, and a full-time course load is notoriously difficult. And while a full-time course load is preferable for some, it’s important to realize that this isn’t the only option. In this case, you need to know what you want. Is it more important to complete your education quickly, or is it more important to make more time for work and writing as you go? Non-traditional schools offer more flexibility in timing, course load, and degrees, which can make things a little easier. If you are able to attend a non-traditional school or otherwise adopt a part-time course load, you may find yourself subjected to less stress and more able to comfortably balance your degree, your job, and your writing practice.
When you’re overwhelmed with work and school, it can be difficult to find the mental space to focus on your writing and the ability to write well. Making writing a priority is a good first step. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but even budgeting 20 minutes a day to work is significantly better than not writing at all. If you’re someone who finds budgeting writing time too stressful and therefore unproductive, you may want to make a commitment to do one thing for your writing each day. This extends beyond writing itself, for instance, if you feel you’re too exhausted to write well, you can send a journal or publisher query or jot down potential ideas to explore another day.
Essentially, writing while continuing to work and pursue a degree is an admirable struggle, and it’s one you can accomplish with some flexibility. By being open to adjusting your schedule and committing fully to all three, you’ll be well on your way to a sustainable balance.
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