Work Life Balance
Work life balance does not always have to be equal. It can and will change throughout the academic year - this is normal. What’s important is how you manage this balance.
A good starting point is to think about what is important to you, and what is urgent. This can
include asking yourself what do you value, want to do well in, or want to achieve?
Track and review your balance over time. It will change as life changes, and it’s good to be mindful of when that happens.
You must take responsibility for your own work life balance – nobody else can do it for you
The Time Management Matrix by Covey helps to breakdown and identify what is urgent,
and what is important. It’s a useful tool to help approach your tasks or to do list in more productive way.
- URGENT/IMPORTANT: MANAGE
- Real crises
- Medial emergencies
- Unexpected or pressing problems (could be exams or deadlines if not prepared)
- NOT URGENT/IMPORTANT: FOCUS
- Health and Exercise
- Deadlines and Exams
- Relationship Building
- URGENT/NOT IMPORTANT: AVOID
- Some calls and emails
- Other peoples’ minor issues
- NOT URGENT/NOT IMPORTANT: LIMIT
- Social Media
Try to separate out what is urgent (i.e. needs to be prioritized and done now) from what is important, but not urgent (routine, exercise, time with friends or loved ones).
You can and should still spend time on the non-urgent & important things, but prioritise the urgent activities first.
Tips for Getting the Balance right
- Take personal responsibility for your work-life balance.
- Identify what you value in life.
- Notice when what seems the ‘ideal’ balance is actually impossible!
- Prioritise what is important to you.
- Track and review your working hours over a period of time.
- From time to time, stop and think– have I got the balance right…?
Planning activities is important:
- Record a list of activities that you want to/need to do in the next few weeks.
- Think about breaking these up into Routine, enjoyable and essential activities. This will help you try to get a balance when planning your diary in future.
- Include time for work, chores, relaxing, exercise, eating and so on.
My routine activities…
My enjoyable activities...
My essential activities…
You might find it helpful to plan your week in advance to help you get the balance right. You can download a week planner here to get you started...