Going back to grad school full time is no joke, especially when you have to balance school and work. Find that balance is possible, but it takes some practice of getting yourself into a pretty disciplined routine. After being in grad school for a few months now and working multiple jobs (at one time), I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped to keep me on my A-game without completely losing my shit. If the struggle is real for you when it comes to finding this gentle balance, I suggest incorporating these five lifestyle tips to help keep your journey through grad school, and adulthood for that matter, a bit smoother.
1. Organization Is Key
OK, so this might come off as a no-brainer, but it is crucial and worth discussing. Taking on more responsibilities as you venture into adulthood means having to step up your organization game unless you want to drive yourself crazy trying to keep everything straight. Find a system that works for YOU. Personally, I cannot handle relying on my phone’s calendar to keep me organized. I actually carry around a planner and write out literally everything (schedule, to-do lists, reminders, etc.). It’s like my bible. If I were to ever lose the “Holy Planner” I don’t even know what I would do! But this system has been working for me and, you know what they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” For the past several years I’ve used an Erin Condren planner. Her planners are the bomb and completely customizable!
2. Manage Your Time
Prioritize your obligations and put them down in your schedule from most important to least. Another reason why I love my planner so much is because I’m a visual learner type of person. I love that I can actually open up my planner and take a good, clear look at my schedule to see what’s in store for the weeks ahead. Ask yourself what your most important priority is and fill in those hours first in your planner. For me, I’ll schedule in my school hours first, as this is my top priority. Then I’ll schedule my work hours in. You may also want to schedule in time for when you know you can get some homework and studying done outside of school and work hours. Doing this keeps me on track and relieves so much of my anxiety about when on earth I’m going to accomplish all that needs to get done.
3. Incorporate Self-Care
It is so easy to be neglectful when it comes to our self-care. You might even be responsible for another human being (shoutout to all the moms and dads out there!). Whatever your circumstances, please remember to set aside some time for YOU. You can better cater to others when you are at your best, right? It might be one yoga class a week. It might mean setting some extra time aside in the mornings for meditating or journaling. It might be a homemade avocado face-mask or a hot bubble bath. It doesn’t need to be crazy or complicated, but it needs to happen. With all that you’re dong, you deserve some time to reset and revitalize. Here are some of my favorite ways to unwind and recharge:
- Burn sage or Palo Santo
- Pull a card from a healing card deck (I love The Moon Deck!)
- Hot bubble bath with essential oils and Epsom salt
4. Make Time For Friends And Family
When I started grad school, I instantly felt that I had distanced myself from having any kind of social life. Any social events that I went to were work or school-related. I believe that this is a normal and natural occurrence when adjusting to a new lifestyle, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that your social life is seemingly slipping away. I found that as I got more comfortable with balancing school and work, and fell into more of a routine with my schedule, I was capable of creating space to introduce more back into my life. You’ll find that this happens when you’ve gotten yourself into a nice rhythm and it’s truly awesome when you reach this point. So, try not to fall off the face of the planet entirely. As I said, this is something I struggled with but there are people supporting my journey and it’s important to me that I stay connected to them!
5. Do NOT Procrastinate!
I recently came across a great little saying, “If it can be done in two minutes, do it now!” I LOVE this and do my best to stick to it. In fact, as I jot down my to-do list, I’ll stop if I come up with something that can be done right then and there on the spot. One more thing accomplished and one less thing to add to your to-do list! Maximize your productivity in order to balance the several areas of your busy life! Time is precious! We all have twenty-four hours in the day. How will you spend your time?
*Bonus Tip! Practice Holding Yourself Accountable!
I think we can all agree that it’s much easier to hold somebody else accountable for their actions than it is to hold ourselves accountable. It’s easier to have somebody else hold us accountable, but sticking to a plan that we made by ourselves for ourselves is tricky. That is why it is a “practice.” It is something that we can continue to improve upon. Practice having integrity and sticking to your schedule. If you slip and perhaps miss your weekly yoga class, don’t beat yourself up but instead, begin again! Recommit. Continue to recommit until your routine comes like second nature. Holding ourselves accountable keeps us responsible and in our power so that we may continue to strive toward our goals and dreams.
When getting into your new routine, have patience with yourself and don’t tack on more than you can handle too soon. As you get into a groove, you’ll find areas in your schedule that you can open up for new opportunities!