With the redefinition of what constitutes work and the introduction of remote learning and remote work, it has become even more difficult for professionals to maintain a healthy work-life balance and set boundaries between work and personal life.
With the added necessity of upskilling and career advancement, this becomes even more difficult, notwithstanding the flexibility of online degree programs, which many professionals opt for. In this blog post, we will be exploring reasons why it is essential to maintain a work-life balance while learning online and practical tips for doing so.
Why is work-life balance important for learning professionals?
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for all professionals, but it is especially crucial for those who are also students. Online learning programs have taken some of the pressure off as they offer a great deal of flexibility and allow a smoother transition into a new role. For example, students taking online degree programs such as the online accelerated BSN programs available at Baylor University can use their current qualifications in a non-nursing role to enroll and transition into a full-time nursing career. These and many more benefits make online learning appealing to many professionals.
So why is work-life balance so important?
- Less stress
First and foremost, maintaining a healthy work-life balance can help to reduce stress levels. Burnout is common among professionals in any industry — but it can be even more prevalent for those who are also studying as they juggle their day job, personal commitments, and coursework.
- Better mental and physical health
A balanced lifestyle can also lead to better mental and physical health. When we are constantly overworked, our bodies can start to break down, leading to physical illness. It is also important for our mental well-being — allowing ourselves time to relax, unwind, and engage in self-care activities can positively impact our overall health and well-being.
- Improved productivity
When we feel less stressed and are in better physical and mental health, it can also lead to improved productivity and creativity. It allows us to approach our work with a clearer mind and ultimately perform better in both our job and our studies.
- Improved focus and performance
Additionally, a balanced lifestyle can improve our ability to focus and ultimately perform better in both our job and studies. When we are constantly overworked and stressed, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand, leading to poorer performance.
- Improved relationships
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can also have positive impacts on our personal relationships. When we are constantly caught up in work and studies, it can be difficult to give enough time and attention to the important people in our lives.
- More fulfillment and success
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle can lead to a sense of fulfillment and, ultimately, success in our personal and professional lives.
Tips for undertaking an online degree and keeping and work-life balance
It can be tough to balance work and family responsibilities with the demands of a full-time degree program. But it’s not impossible. Here are some tips for juggling it all while still earning your degree:
- Make a plan and set priorities
It’s important to plan out your schedule and prioritize tasks. This can help prevent feeling overwhelmed and allow for some flexibility in case of any unexpected circumstances. It’s also important to communicate your plans with family and co-workers so they are aware of your commitments and can support you during this time.
- Make time for self-care
It’s important to make time for self-care activities — whether it’s a relaxing bath, going for a walk, or practicing yoga — to help destress and maintain overall well-being. However, you should be careful not to make self-care a reward for unhealthy productivity habits.
- Take breaks
It can be tempting to try and power through your coursework but giving yourself some time to recharge is important. Taking regular breaks while studying can help improve focus and prevent burnout. As a working professional, you might find it easy to use every work break to study, but you need to take some time off.
- Seek support
Don’t be afraid to reach out for support, whether from friends, family, or a mentor. It’s important to have a strong support system during this time to offer encouragement and assistance when needed.
- Find the right school and program
Finding a program that fits your schedule and offers flexibility is important. Many online degree programs offer self-paced or asynchronous courses, which can be helpful for those who may have busy schedules. Choosing a school or program that aligns with your career goals and offers quality resources such as academic advisors, virtual study groups, or career services is also important.
- Get organized
Staying organized can help make the juggling act a little easier. This includes organizing your schedule, assignments, and study materials in a way that works best for you. It may also help to create a designated workspace or study area to improve focus and productivity.
- Manage your time wisely
Time management is crucial to achieving a work-life balance while undertaking an online degree program. This includes setting aside dedicated time for your studies and making sure to schedule “me” time and time with loved ones. It may also be helpful to use tools such as a planner or calendar to stay ahead of deadlines.
- Stay connected with classmates and professors
It can be easy to feel isolated when taking online courses but staying connected with your classmates and professors can help provide support and a sense of community during this time. This can include participating in virtual study groups or reaching out to ask for help or clarification on course materials.
It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. It’s about finding a balance that works best for you and your circumstances. But by following these tips, you can work towards achieving success in all aspects of your life while undertaking an online degree program.