We all have the same amount of time every day. How you manage yours just might determine how easy it is for you to go back to school while you balance work and life. Here are three of the first things to learn:
Start Saying No
When you're stretched to your very limits, you're not very effective at any of the many things you're trying to accomplish. Determine your priorities and say no to everything that doesn't fit within them.
You don't even have to give an excuse, but if you feel you must, thank them for thinking of you, say you're going to school and that studying, your family, and your job are your main priorities right now, and that you're sorry you won't be able to participate.
Learn to Delegate
You don't have to be bossy to be good at delegating. It can be a very diplomatic process. First, realize that responsibility is different from authority. You can give someone the responsibility to take care of something for you without giving them authority they perhaps shouldn't have.
- Decide who is best for the job
- Explain the job clearly
- Be very specific about your expectations
- Be very specific about the consequences of not doing the job correctly
- Ask the person to repeat what he or she understands the job to be, and to anticipate possible problems
- Provide whatever training or resources the two of you determine are necessary
- Trust that this person will do a good job
- Remember that they might not do it the same way as you, but if the end result is the same, does it really matter?
Get a Date Book or Planner
A date book, planner, or PDA is an absolute must if you're going back to school and trying to balance your life. Put it at the top of your school supplies shopping list.
Date books come in all sizes and styles. Browse through your local office supply store and choose one that:
- Will fit easily into your book bag
- Is set up the way you think: daily, weekly, or monthly
- Has enough room for you to write all of your appointments clearly
- Has a section for notes so you're not losing those pesky little slips of paper
- Has an address/phone book section so you'll have all the info you need when you need it
Some date books have time management pages built right in to help you prioritize your responsibilities. If you think these will work for you, give them a try. Some are marvelous. Franklin Covey is one great choice: Organize your life with FranklinCovey!
Balance is possible. Say no. Delegate. Get a good date book.