Study-Work-Life Balance: Challenges and Opportunities

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In organizations and on the home front, the challenge of work-life balance is rising to the top of many employers’ and employees’ consciousness. The work-life-study balance comprises the challenge of creating a culture where employees can focus on their jobs while at work, address their personal and family commitments and manage their education without feeling pressure.  Work-life balance is both important for the organization and for its employees, it helps the organization to improve productivity, efficiency, competitiveness, morale and hence gain a competitive edge. Similarly, employees are benefited through increased work motivation  to  work,  enhanced  satisfaction,  empowerment and ultimately more commitment to work and studies. A Federal Reserve Bank study found that effective work-life balance resulted in a 10.6% increase in productivity.

In recognition of the very different experiences of students juggling private lives, work obligations and the demands of their studies, the concept of ‘Study-Work-Life Balance’ (SWLB) has emerged in the literature on students.


Challenges of Study-work-life balance

Study-work-life balance can be tricky if proper steps are not followed and maintained. Some of the problems that can be faced are:

  1. Procrastination- Pushing responsibilities and deadlines can pile up more work and can be stressful later to finish. Being a student and an employee is tiring but procrastination can add more stress.
  2. Multitasking- Even though many times multitasking is seen as easy to be done, it can be draining and the time you can spend on a particular work task or project can reduce. For better work quality, it is better to finish a project and then move to the next.
  3. Distractions- It’s easy to get distracted during work or studies. Checking social media or messages every minute, attending/ making unimportant calls, and engaging in irrelevant thoughts can take more time than expected and hinder concentration at work. We are so much used to our phones but avoiding phones while working will be a good way to complete a task faster.
  4. Lack of time for health- Many times when juggling between work, studies and personal life, less attention is given to health and nutrition. Physical and mental health are equally important and if health is compromised it can affect your work and life. Dealing with health issues can be more time-consuming, so a better idea is to make sure proper nutrition and sleep are met.
  5. Lack of schedule- Having no schedule can be challenging for SWLB.  Having a timetable set for the entire week or day will help you focus on the task at hand and accommodate new responsibilities. Taking notes, writing things down, making a to-do list and planning in advance can save you time and finish everything systematically. Sometimes with no proper schedule, everything can be all over the place and overwhelming.
  6. No breaks- It is very essential to slow things down and reflect on your day. Working continuously on managing work, life and studies can be draining and short and long breaks are necessary for knowing yourself and how far you have come. It might be challenging to find some free time, but it should be made compulsory. 5 minutes of mindfulness exercise or breathing techniques can do wonders. A research-backed benefit of mindfulness in the workplace is that it promotes resiliency.
  7. Burnout- this can be attached to all the above challenges. If all the challenges are not met correctly, it can lead to burnout. Taking breaks and making schedules are very much needed to enjoy the process of work and studies. Finding time for family and friends is needed but time for self-care and health is also important. Having short and long-term goals can help you be on track and await burnout. Reward yourselves if you meet any short-term goals.
  8. Unsupportive employer- Sometimes the issues faced while managing work, study and personal life is the lack of support received from the workplace and such situations should be managed with maturity. Choosing a job opportunity that will enable you to manage your studies along with work and informing the employers upfront is a must. 

Effective Strategies to achieve study-work-life balance

In the fast-paced world, developing work skills and experience is important along with education. At the same time, finding time for personal life is also very much essential. Social interaction and mental health have long been linked together for having a cause-and-effect relationship. According to Psychology Today, face-to-face contact can reduce the risk of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.

Even though Study-work-life balance seems hectic, if you can foresee the above challenges and plan accordingly, it can be fun and fulfilling. Good SWLB can lead to improved mental and physical health, increased engagement, improved creative thinking and a feeling of accomplishment.


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