It’s hard to find the time to pursue a secondary degree. Maybe you’re working full-time. Perhaps have a family or other time-consuming responsibilities. How do you, as a professional, further your education in a constantly advancing, competitive world while also creating work-life balance?
Q. “What is your best time management tip to create the best work-life balance while seeking your degree?”
1. Trim The Fat
I switched careers while in this program, despite all the unsolicited advice telling me, “This is not the time.” I had to manage the transition while keeping up with my classes between quarters and balancing life. There is never a perfect time to make a big change. However, investing in yourself to have options throughout your career is important.
I’ve had to prioritize:
- Self-care (personal).
- Surround myself with energy that feeds and does not drain (social).
- Identify 1 or 2 people in the program to share highs and lows. A support system in the graduate program is key.
My best time management advice is cut the fat—literally and figuratively. You have to make different decisions while balancing work and school. Your time and energy are your strongest assets—allocate wisely. You may not know it now, but this program may be just what you need to make some changes.
2. Get Up Early
To effectively balance everything, I get up early in the morning to train, block out time after work to spend time with my family, and work and study after my daughter go to bed. The real keys are a supportive wife and employer and a lot of communication.
3. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
We often catch ourselves trying to take on too many things at once after it’s too late. Choosing a smaller amount of good quality work versus a large quantity of sub-par work will yield better results.
One of the best tools is keeping track of all deadlines (both professional and personal) on paper or your smartphone. This will help in setting workload expectations, including how to shift your schedule to accommodate important project deadlines and dates.
Don’t be afraid to speak up for help or say “No!
4. Stay Positive. Set Priorities
A challenge facing me while pursuing my Executive MBA at the College is balancing school life, family, personal, and work responsibilities. I come from a traditional Persian family, where it is important that my brother and I take good care of our elderly parents in their 80’s who depend on us. My brother work also hard daily to establish our investment firm, Tessellation Capital Management.
The best advice I have is set your priorities to allocate enough time for each responsibility, while always keeping a positive, can-do, and optimistic outlook. I also attend Pilgrim Baptist Church in San Mateo. Having faith that the future is bright always helps.
I’ve been blessed to have great professors and awesome classmates in my cohort and would definitely highly recommend anyone looking to pursue their MBA or Executive MBA to strongly consider Saint Mary’s College of California. This journey has been challenging at times, with a rigorous curriculum, but fun and well worth it at the same time.
Saint Mary’s College offers two distinct Executive MBA programs – a traditional Executive MBA (EMBA) and a Global Executive MBA (GEMBA). Both top-rated programs are part-time (evenings and weekend) and hybrid format (classroom and online).
5. Remind Yourself Of Your Goal Often
The best tip I have it to set your mind and your body for this goal. Often, I had to give up my relaxing nights or play time with my son so that I could study or work on my homework or projects. At times when my school works is light. I spend my time with my son. Once he goes to bed, that’s my time to work on my homework. I remind myself that all of this is not just for me, but also for my family. I remind myself to believe that all of my all hard work pays off.
6. Plan Time For Yourself
Plan! But most importantly, plan time for yourself. Seeking your MBA is equivalent to having another part-time job. You go to class at least twice a week, study, and do group work for a couple hours after a full day of work.
Some people have families to attend to, and other responsibilities. In my case, 4 to 5 hours of my class days are dedicated to driving to/from Monterey and Saint Mary’s (anything for the MBA!).
That is why in those spare moments sprinkled in between all the craziness, planning for that one hour every Tuesday to catch up on your favorite show or go to happy hour with your friends will make you feel like you have it all together and that this whole experience is all worth it.
7. Be Focused. Listen To Music.
Put your phone down, don’t let yourself browse the web for unrelated items—my biggest time trap. I usually put headphones on and listen to classical music, it makes me at least feel more studious. Strategically placed baby gates help as well. Balancing school, work, and family is a super challenge.
Be intentional with your time. if you are going to be with your family, focus on them, if you need to do school focus on that.
I have a great family of four—my wife and I, and two little girls, Lucy (2.5 years old) and Holly (5 months). There are few quiet moments between sleep and naps at our house right now. Technology has brought my current job from an 8 to 5 role to 24/7 if you want to stay connected, which many do.
MBA programs come in all shapes and sizes, including abbreviated 12-18-month curricula as well as part-time. A part-time format makes it possible to work full-time while completing the degree. MBA degrees are also available online and in hybrid (online and face-to-face) format.