By Samantha Yorke
Samantha Yorke is an assistant director and success coach for the Office of Undergraduate Student Success at NSU. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Central Florida and her Master of Science degree in higher education from Florida State University. Samantha is a proud Floridian with a passion for empowering others.
Most of us have seen the triangle meme that has “good grades” on one corner, “a social life” on the second corner and “sleep” on the third, suggesting you can only pick two. Although the balance may be tough, it is definitely possible to juggle all three corners successfully. But what exactly is work/life balance? To keep things simple, work/life balance can be defined as prioritizing your work, class, studying, job, etc., with your lifestyle, health, leisure, family, etc.
How do we prioritize? We focus on our values.
Your values are anything in this world that are most important to you. You may have a value for family and a value for maintaining a high GPA. You can have one major value or dozens of them. With these values in mind, you may want to reconsider what you are doing on a daily basis that allows you to spend your time and energy on them further. You may find that you are a lot happier when your values are held high and they are all present within your life. The tricky part is figuring out where the majority of your energy and time is being spent currently so that you can effectively balance all of the different values in your life.
There are a couple of ways to do this:
Fill out a life pod worksheet and see what pods have the most activity. A life pod worksheet is a tool that displays several different components of your life, such as academics, employment, friends and family, and a space for “other,” where you can fill in additional values. This tool assists you in breaking down what is going on in each section of your life so that you can see where most of your time is spent. You can complete a life pod activity within the Office of Undergraduate Student Success.
Write down your daily tasks and see what value they are connected to. This is a quick and easy way to reflect on what is going on in your day-to-day schedule.
Think more broadly about what you would like more of in your life, like family time, fitness time, etc., compared to what you have currently, and decide what can be dropped or replaced to prioritize these goals.
Now that you have an idea of where your time is spent, you can use that knowledge to restructure your energy. In fact, don’t think of your work/life balance as something that works around the clock, but works around how much energy you have in a day. If 50 percent of your energy needs to go to value #1, school each day, 20 percent to value #2, exercise, then you know you have 30 percent for your remaining values.
Creating an ideal work/life balance system takes time — a lot of it. Remember that balance is an ongoing effort as new classes, people, and goals pop into your life. The best thing you can do is to actively reflect on your energy and values and implement positive changes daily!
Graphic: You can also consider a few tips when balancing your life:
Remember there is no such thing as a perfect schedule: embrace flexibility.
The more organized you are with your to-do list, the easier it will be to balance it.
Make sure you are incorporating enough “me-time” to relax each week.