6 Steps to Creating the Right Work-Life Balance

Work life balance sticky notes on a see-saw

Finding work-life balance is key to professional and personal success, and that includes success as an adult student. Why? Because work-life balance reduces stress so that we can accomplish our goals. And that’s incredibly important, because, according to Mental Health America, “One in four Americans describe themselves as ‘super stressed,’ and that’s not balanced — or healthy.” As our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets. Stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed, and harm our personal and professional relationships. 

So, what factors impact work-life balance for adult students, and how can you manage them to achieve success throughout your education journey? 

Factors That Impact Work-Life Balance 

  1. Responsibilities: Professional, personal, and education requirements 
  2. Obligations: Commitment to actions or tasks
  3. Priorities: Projects that are regarded as more important than another
  4. Time: A finite measurement of effort available to accomplish responsibilities and obligations   
  5. Stress: A physical and emotional reaction to what you feel needs to be accomplished versus what you feel you can accomplish 

Work-Life Balance Tips for Adult Students

Wondering how to achieve and maintain your own work-life balance while juggling your job, your family, and your education? Consider these six tips.    

1. Set Realistic Goals

You will always have competing responsibilities, obligations, and priorities (not to mention a set amount of time in each day!), so a successful work-life balance strategy begins with realistic goals across all areas of your life. 

2. Discuss and Communicate 

Communicating with all people in your life is key. Honest discussions upfront ensure expectations and goals are understood across all areas of your life. 

3. Determine Priorities With Peers and Supervisors 

These priorities should be based on your individual situation; every successful work-life balance strategy has time dedicated to the various priorities across all constituencies. 

4. Create a Plan

Work priority responsibilities and obligations into your schedule, plan ahead, and leave time for the unexpected.  

5. Manage Your Time 

Time management is literally the management of the effort you have available to accomplish your responsibilities and obligations. Dedicate chunks of time throughout each day to work, family responsibilities, and your education — and stay disciplined. 

6. Reassess 

Things are bound to change over time, so make sure you’re re-evaluating your priorities, obligations, and responsibilities regularly. This can help alleviate stress in the long run!

About the Author

Dr. Dennis Devery is the VP of Enrollment at Thomas Edison State University. He earned two master’s degrees as an adult learner, while also raising a family, serving as an officer in the United States military at various locations around the U.S. and Europe, and responding to various natural disasters including hurricanes and forest fires. Dr. Devery earned his doctorate degree while serving in Afghanistan for a year, caring for his ailing mother, teaching as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, and serving as the Vice President for Planning and Research at Thomas Edison State University.


Work life balance sticky notes on a see-saw

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