How To Balance a Career Reboot and the Rest of Your Life: Time Management Strategies That Work
So you’ve decided to enter a training program and launch a new career—or maybe you’re just thinking about it right now. Either way, congrats! This is a huge decision that can positively impact the rest of your life.
There’s lots to consider when you’re balancing a career overhaul, especially if you’re working or have family responsibilities. This is why effective time management is critical. Getting clear on your priorities, trying different tools, and making time for yourself will help you stay organized and prevent you from burning out before you reach your goals.
Read on to learn more!
Identify your top priorities and how they’ll fit into your new schedule
Before you can develop a time management strategy, you’ll need to know how you currently spend your time. Take a week or two and write down everything you do, from the moment you open your eyes until you go to bed.
Now, pull out the activities that consume most of your time and decide whether they’re must-dos. For example, if you’re spending four hours a week on carpool-related tasks for your kids, ask yourself: Is this something I want to be doing while I’m in school?
If the answer is yes, great! You can shift your time management plan to accommodate. If the answer is no, however, brainstorm ways you can either fully or partially change those responsibilities. Maybe it’s asking someone else for help or investigating school bus routes. Then, you can use the newfound “free” time to apply toward school, work, or another area.
Break down tasks into smaller “chunks”
This one’s a tried-and-true strategy for a reason: It works! It can feel daunting to look at the whole of a task, but breaking it down into smaller, more bite-sized pieces can help you move through it with less stress.
Take school as an example. When you’re looking at your training program, you might feel overwhelmed. There’s so much time and energy required of you, right?
But what if you slow down and look at it in terms of each week’s requirement—or even each day’s? What do you need to show up and do every day in order to succeed in the program? Maybe it’s spending 20 minutes a day brushing up on key concepts, in addition to attending your weekly courses. When you look at it that way, it’s much more manageable!
Experiment with different time management and productivity tools
There are so many tools out there that can help you streamline your life and organize your workload.
Here are a handful to try:
Asana: Allows you to organize, track, and manage tasks, deadlines, and projects. You can also add others to your workspace and collaborate on work together.
Trello: A popular alternative to Asana, Trello offers a lot of the same functionality but with a different aesthetic. Tasks are organized in “boards” with “cards” on them. Like Asana, you can add others to your workspace.
Evernote: Take notes, organize documents and downloads, and create folders to manage your files, no matter where you are.
Todoist: Another option for creating to-do lists, setting up reminders and notifications, and staying on top of your workload.
Technology is your friend! Even if you’re not an “apps” person, what about scheduling alarms throughout the day to keep you on track and remind you of how you need to spend your time while in school? By trying different things and thinking creatively, you’ll learn what works for you.
Don’t forget to schedule time for rest and relaxation
It’s really tempting to overschedule yourself and pack each day to the brim, but that’s a surefire recipe for burnout! Be sure to schedule regular blocks of time just for you. These will allow you to recharge and keep you motivated for the long haul.
Remember: Career makeovers are a marathon, not a sprint!
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