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The Best Strategies to Juggle Studies, Work, and Volunteering

Juggling studies and work is difficult, but some people take it a step further and inject volunteering into their already busy schedule. And it really is an admirable thing to do — what little time you have left will be dedicated to giving back to the community.

If you’re part of this breed of productive and selfless individuals, you understand how easily you can go off track in your studies, work, or community pursuits. In some cases, you can get burned out from all the things you have to do that you get left behind in all three aspects of your life.

Of course, setbacks are understandable; not everyone has the means and resources to play the role of the student, employee, and volunteer all at once. So, we’ve put together a list of ways you can maintain balance in your life, so you can be the best you can be, while still offering the best part of yourself to others.

No. 1: Sharpen Your Planning and Time Management Skills

Studying, working, and volunteering would require eagle-sharp planning and time management skills. But before you arrange your calendar, you have to rank these three in priority. For some people, especially uni students, classes are the most important, followed by the job that pays for their daily expenses, and then volunteer gigs come last. For graduate students, their job responsibilities come first, followed by volunteer events, and their classes come last. How you prioritize the three depends on you; there’s no right or wrong hierarchy because it’s personal.

Once you’ve established which comes first, then those would fill your calendar first. If the job is the most important, then it would be the first entries in your schedule, and you’ll have to plan your classes and volunteer gigs around it.  If classes come first, then you’ll plan your semester first, then find a job and volunteer events that won’t clash with your schedule.

Take locations into consideration, too. If you live in a university town, it’s best to find a job vacancy nearby or select a coworking space business in the area for your part-time job. It’s also convenient to narrow down the volunteer events to those that are easily accessible from where you live.

No. 2: Study in Your Downtime

With three main thrusts in life, you always have to be on the move. Every minute must be productive. So if you have a few hours to spare, use it to study. While waiting for updates on your work responsibilities, you can spend an hour reading your notes. While waiting for a volunteer gig to start, you can browse your online books.

That said, remember to set aside time for rest, too. People stay productive when they regularly reset and recharge — no one can give their 100% all the time. Make sure you get enough sleep and don’t feel guilty about the weekends that you spend on yourself. ;

No. 3: Make Use of Online Resources

Online tools are vital for planning and time management. Even if you have a razor-sharp memory, there will be deadlines that you forget or details that you will overlook. So always err on the side of caution and jot everything down.

There are plenty of time management apps available online, which will help you keep track of projects and ensure everything is done within the deadline. Some popular choices are:

  • Focus Keeper
  • Toggl
  • Trello

If you’re using a calendar, it’s advisable to sync it across all your devices, so you can always adjust and reschedule any time. ;

No. 4: Always Remember the Why

As mentioned earlier, it’s easy to get burned out if you have so many things to accomplish, and the work never seems to run out. During these moments, it helps to look back at your goals—why are you doing this? Why are you eager to accomplish, finish, and give? Remembering the why will help you get through the next set of tasks and prepare for the succeeding set.

Always keep in mind:

  • Your volunteering and the part-time job will give you valuable, real-world skills that employers need.
  • You’ll gain operational knowledge of how a workplace or a non-profit organization works.
  • Your studies will open opportunities for professional growth or even further studies.
  • You are doing your part to improve your community.

Juggling all three provides many benefits, but the most valuable one is you gain inner strength. You encounter all sorts of problems, but you’ll find novel solutions and work around them. You’ll always find time short, but you will learn how to prioritize and work efficiently. By juggling all three, you are evolving into a better person every day.

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