Balancing your work life with family time can be a challenge on its own. Throw school into the mix and you have a demanding, but potentially very rewarding, mix to manage. Here are some ideas to help you make it through school without forgetting what your family looks like or missing out on important life moments.
Become a Planner
No matter how complicated your schedule gets, you're golden as long as you can stay on top of it. Plan your school and work schedules out first, then sit down with your family and plan out the together times, from field trips to movie nights, that are most important to them.
It may be tempting to pack your schedule to the gills, trusting that you'll figure it out along the way somehow. But being realistic from the start helps keep stress levels low and avoid disappointments. If you need an hour to get something done, plan an hour into your schedule -- not 30 minutes.
Stick to a Routine
From who cooks dinner to bedtimes and when homework gets done, establishing a household routine is like automating -- or at least streamlining -- everyday tasks. Clear expectations make life easier and give everyone a way of contributing to your success in school.
If it's on paper, you won't have to worry about keeping track of it in your head. Having both a daily to-do list and a long-term to-do list ensures that nothing falls by the wayside. The lists help you stay productive, too; if you can't bring yourself to tackle what you're supposed to be doing on a given day, just choose something else from the list.
Have a Family Night
Put your heads together and designate a family night where the only criteria is that you get together and have fun. Think pizza, board games, a favorite TV show, fun crafts or going for a bike ride. There are only two rules: Everybody's there, and no work or school work allowed during that time.
There are only 24 hours in a day. So, if you hit a point where you just can't do everything, it's time to delegate! Turn to your family, friends, coworkers and schoolmates, depending on the challenge you're facing -- and ask for help.
A Little You Time
Meeting all the demands of work, school and family can leave you feeling like you're being pulled in many different directions. Make sure to schedule periodic down time to refresh and renew -- whether it's quiet time with a book, a short midday nap, or just five minutes to close your eyes and breathe.
Remember, you're in school for a reason. Although balancing school and family (or work and school and family) is a true challenge for anybody, you're working your way toward some very tangible successes and rewards. Hang in there and circle the family wagons -- you'll be ready to graduate before you know it!