Work-Life Balance as an Adult Student

You made the decision to get the degree, and now juggling all your responsibilities has you toeing the line between treading water and drowning. Even with less time, self-care and balance are more important than ever. Here are fifteen ways you can better balance work, school, and life.

1. Use a planner

Writing down your obligations, from work to family to school, will help make sure one part of your life isn’t slipping through the cracks.

2. Unplug

Disconnecting from email and other work responsibilities after you can clock out will give you space to breath and fulfill your other responsibilities.

3. Exercise

Working out has many health benefits, both mental and physical. Take twenty minutes for a run or walk can leave you feeling refreshed and recharged.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Psychology Today says mindfulness is “a state of active, open attention on the present.” Focusing on the here and now can help you take control of your time, reduce stress, and boost focus. While you’re at it, try meditating or spending time in prayer!

5. Turn off the TV

With Netflix and Hulu, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest series and spend hours watching television. If you want to make the most of your time, limit the time you spend watching TV or turn it off altogether.

6. Speak with your employer

If it’s all getting to be too much, talk with your supervisor about your options. There may be a way to create more flexibility in your work schedule to accommodate your studies.

7. Eat nutritiously

When you’re busy and behind on schoolwork, the call of fast food can have the strength of a siren song! Make sure to avoid binging on unhealthy food and to select nutritious options as often as you can. Eating healthily can even boost the amount of information you remember.

8. Sleep

If you’re one of the 35 percent of Americans not getting enough sleep, consider finding ways to increase your ZZZs! Lack of sleep can lead to many negative health effects as well as hurt your ability to learn and remember new concepts.

9. Volunteer

When your life revolves around work and school, it can be easy to feel unfulfilled. Make time to serve a cause important to you.

10. Stop wasting time

Let’s be honest. It’s easy to waste precious minutes scrolling through social media, browsing the grocery store aisles, or hitting the snooze button each morning. Make your time count and you’ll be amazed by how much time opens up.

11. Lean on your support system

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take your mom up on that offer to babysit for date night. See your instructor during office hours to speed up your homework process. If there are people willing to help, let them. And return the favor when you can.

12. Meet with a counselor

Being a student with a full-time job can weigh on your mentally, physically, and spiritually. Take advantage of your school’s low-cost mental health services, like Southern Nazarene University’s counseling center, your pastor, or chaplain (like Doug Samples, the Professional and Graduate Studies Chaplain at SNU). It’s alright to struggle. Just don’t go through it alone.

13. Say “no”

It’s easy to be a “yes man,” but sometimes it’s important to say no when you simply don’t have enough time. Saying no gives you the opportunity to say yes to the things that really matter in your life.

14. Take some PTO

If it comes down to it, use a day of PTO to catch up on schoolwork or family obligations. Everyone needs a break now and then!

15. Reach out to people going through it

The best advice you’re going to get is from other people who have gone through the same thing. Ask what worked for them and see which advice you can incorporate into your daily life.


What are your best tips on balancing school and work? Comment below!

(2) Comments

  • Cathleen Burgett November 3, 2018 @ 9:35 pm

    These are all great Ideas and I use most of them already. I am currently working on my third degree from SNU. The first two Completed in Tulsa. All the professors were amazing, understanding, and always started our classes with a pray, or a short read study then prayer. I am currently attending the a third adult program attending in Bethany. The Professor that taught Mod 4 was the first professor I have ever had talk down to me, treat me like I am not important, when I would ask questions or repeat to her what she had told you in class the first night. The was an assessment class and she literally taught us nothing. The last night of class she asked if there was anything we thought or expected and hadn’t I ask her what to look for in the reports to better help our student and their FAMILIES. Her REPLIES to me would be {l attend 5 of grad school to learn that). After reviewing a report she had written, another lady a couple chairs down ask the same question with maybe a few different words, but the professor took time to explain to her where we needed to look for the information we would use.

    • sroberts November 5, 2018 @ 4:20 pm

      We love to get feedback from our current students and alumni! We are so thankful you’ve had a positive experience up until this point. Can you send us an email to with the details of your program, module, professor, etc.? We would like to pass this information along to the program director. Thanks!

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