According to the 2016 Business School Data Guide by DataDirect, 58.2% of MBA students complete their degree on a part-time basis.
Getting an MBA while working makes sense for many people. Some companies will finance a portion of the expenses for the MBA degree or even pay for the whole thing while the student continues to work at the company.
Other students who fund their own MBA education may find that working a full- or part-time job can help them pay for their daily expenses.
One of the challenges that MBA students will face is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Here are some tips on how to maintain a healthy work-life balance while enrolled in a demanding MBA curriculum.
A Steady Schedule can Help with Work-Life Balance
One of the best ways to stay out on schedule is to complete as much work as possible ahead of time. Sometimes tasks take longer to complete than you expect and other things may come up that suddenly require your time.
You may even find that in some classes, the instructor will give you a list of required reading and homework assignments for the entire semester. Reading ahead and completing assignments before they are even officially assigned can give you more time flexibility if you need it.
Finishing work ahead of time gives you more flexibility to deal with sudden schedule changes and other emergencies.
Prioritize School and Work
One of the challenges with MBA school is that you can’t rely on having a consistent schedule. A class might require hardly any work one week but then you have multiple assignments to work on the next week.
To succeed in college, you need to be able to prioritize tasks and focus on completing the most important items first. There are multiple apps you can use for scheduling and organization, as well as a classic planner.
If you feel like you have too much on your plate, then focus on just getting everything completed. Rather than striving for perfection, just focus on getting everything done and use any remaining time to improve the quality of your work.
Study with Friends to Relieve Stress
Another way to improve work-life balance is to study with friends. Friends can help you brainstorm ideas as well as stay energized and focused.
Additionally, studying with friends can also be fun and make studying feel less like work. Friends can help you take periodic breaks from your work, which is recommended for long study sessions.
Evaluate your productivity levels while studying with other people versus studying alone. If you are able to study effectively with others, you may want to consider organizing your own study groups.
Work-Life Balance Means Making Time for Fun Activities
Although you might feel like you have too much work to do, you should still schedule a time to do fun extracurricular activities that help you take a break from stressful work and studies.
Scheduling engaging occasions can also increase happiness by giving you something to look forward to. Psychology studies have found that anticipation of a fun event can contribute to happiness over a longer period of time.
When you’re letting loose in these situations, consider turning off your smartphone so that you can fully focus on the activity. A Kent State study found that interruptions like phone calls can cut into leisure time and make leisurely activities less enjoyable.
Here are some suggestions for fun stress-free activities that you can do as an MBA student:
- Take a fun class – Taking a fun class or joining a school club can be a great way to make sure you are doing something fun on a regularly scheduled basis. Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to dance or to develop your artistic skills. Your school may have classes or student groups that allow you to explore those interests. Fun classes can also help you develop a new group of friends outside of work and classes.
- Have lunch or dinner with friends and family – Another important thing to do is to make time to keep in touch with friends and family. Having strong relationships can help you get through tough times and derive more enjoyment from life. It may be tempting at times to cut out time for friends and family when your schedule gets busy. However, scheduling even one meal a month can help you stay connected to the people you care about.
- Join an exercise group or fitness club – Exercise can keep your body healthy and your energy levels high. Regular exercise can also prevent you from getting sick. Even light exercise activities like yoga, meditation, and tai chi can be a great stress relief for students.
The Key to Effective Stress Management for MBA Students
Being an effective MBA student requires a mix of being able to work productively and incorporating fun activities into your already-busy schedule. While getting work done is important, maintaining a healthy balance between work and fun will allow students to stay happy and ultimately achieve the best results.
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