Recent grads and getting that ‘work-life balance’

Work–life balance [1]  is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” and “lifestyle”. This is related to the idea of lifestyle choice.

If you’ve graduated this year, like in my case, you knew what was coming next, that dreaded wake-up call, that comes and slaps you in the face, to tell you your time was officially up. (Unless you’ve rolled straight onto an MA or another BA). You experience the shift. The shift from your educational life you once knew and was accustomed to, into the exterior working world. Whether from friends that have previously graduated, or family, as a reference point, you could anticipate and have somewhat of an idea of how to adjust to this shift.

This shift, to being a postgrad, leave many susceptible to this ‘grey area’ that has been labelled as the ‘post-grad blues’, limbo, the real world, ‘outside’, AKA: Life. The phase where you no longer have the safety net of educational institutions to fall back on, nor that grant money that student finance was able to provide to many of us (at the time), that was mostly used for our everyday survival.

For me, I could clearly see that there were three different points of the spectrum during this postgrad phase: either I’d find myself at one end of complete uncertainty, unprepared, confused, jobless, or in a part-time position that doesn’t pay enough, thinking of moving back, or moving out or moving away (strong urges of the unrealistic tend to arise often out of desperation). In the middle, where you are semi-prepared, have a stable part-time job which could potentially lead into full-time or you’ve landed a residency, studio work or other. Lastly, I could potentially find myself at the other end of the spectrum, on some next level, super prepared, already have space, with either that part-time or full-time position, all good and set. Where am I currently? Somewhere in that middle part, grateful to have the positions I’m in but also wondering how I’m going to actually pull it all off.

Adjusting and finding a routine to the full-time grind is a challenge. New terms I’ve never really had to think about up until this point, such as, to ‘compartmentalise’ and searching for different ways to prioritise tasks, have become essential skills and tools to get me through the weeks, from day to day, without crumbling to pieces.

While university, in many ways prepares you for the career path you have chosen to go for, whether that be an artist, journalist, creatives in general, for many working class POC WP[2] students it’s a hustle. Managing different and multiple clients at once, there are workshops, there are sessions, there are talks, but just like anything and everything, taking notes and understanding theoretically is one thing, putting all of it into practice is another.

Here’s a couple of coping mechanisms, skills, tools, tips I myself, will be starting to apply that you may find useful:

 

 

  • Respect Deadlines.

 

 

 

  • Set Milestone Deadlines.

 

 

 

  • Consider the Consequences of not completing tasks on time.

 

 

 

  • Consider Time Required to complete tasks: Prioritise the tasks that will take less time to complete so that I can get it crossed off my list and be able to focus more effectively on the remaining tasks. Really helpful link activity for prioritizing tasks in resource section below. [3]

 

 

 

  • Set Monthly Goals and Work Backward: With weekly and monthly to-do lists in addition to a daily list, you’ll be able to see how each task impacts the other things on your list, and priorities tend to clearly emerge.

 

 

 

  • Schedule a Percentage of Your Time for Personal Projects: If you don’t set aside the time, most likely you won’t get around to it since other things will always come up.

 

 

 

  • Tip: Always Negotiate for Extra Time:This gives you a buffer in case something goes wrong. And if nothing does go wrong, you can always deliver early.

 

 

 

  • Tip: Communicate Regularly

 

 

 

  • Place More Emphasis on Finishing Tasks Rather than Starting New Ones

 

 

 

  • Know the Strongest Times of Your Work Day

 

 

 

  • Give Yourself Some Flexibility

 

 

 

  • Have a Specific Ending Time for Work. Compartmentalize! [4]

 

 

 

  • Recognise Your Distractions

 

 

 

  • Have Realistic Expectations

 

 

 

  • Plan Your Next Day at the End of Each

 

 

 

  • Get Enough Sleep and Water

 

 

 

  • Eat Healthy

 

 

 

  • Get Fresh Air & Exercise

 

 

[1] Work–life balance: the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy. (Cambridge Dictionary)

 

References & Further Resource:

 

  • [1] (Cambridge Dictionary)

            http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/work-life-balance

 

  • WP is for Widening Participation –  A phrase for a central pillar of the UK Government’s higher education agenda, which calls for increasing the diversity of the university student body. Widened participation is intended to include students from underprivileged backgrounds who do not traditionally attend university. The government’s plans for widening participation are outlined in its publication Widening participation.

            http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Widening+participation

 

  • [2] HOW TO MANAGE TIME BY PRIORITIZING DAILY TASKS

http://www.dummies.com/careers/career-planning/changing-careers/how-to-manage-time-by-prioritizing-daily-tasks/

 

  • [3]Compartmentalize Your Life: Easy Tips To Get Started

https://ppx.inkwellpress.com/blog/compartmentalize-your-life-tips/