Create a healthy balance

Caroline is a Kent PhD student. Here she lists her top tips for creating a healthy work/life balance.

As a PhD student who studies full-time and works part-time, balancing work and study as a postgraduate (PG) student can be challenging but, with effective time management and self-care strategies, you can achieve a healthy balance. Here are some of my tips to help you get started on creating that balance: 

  1. Set Clear Priorities

Start by identifying your top priorities. Determine your most important academic and work commitments and allocate your time accordingly.  Using a combination of online reminders, planners and calendars can help you keep on track with important deadlines and tasks; understanding what needs your immediate attention will help you stay focused and organized. 

  1. Time Blocking

Consider using the time-blocking technique to allocate specific blocks of time to work on particular tasks. This helps you stay on track and prevents multitasking, which can decrease productivity. 

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Setting achievable goals for both your work and studies is crucial to creating a healthy balance. Be honest with yourself about how much you can accomplish in a given timeframe. Setting realistic goals reduces stress and keeps you motivated as when you have a large to-do list with a short time frame, it can feel daunting and encourage procrastination. 

  1. Communicate with Employers and lecturers

Keep your employer and lecturers informed about your commitments. This is not only important for maintaining healthy working relationships but will help both your employer and lecturer allocate tasks to you. For example, if you have a particularly busy period at work or a crucial exam coming up, let them know in advance.  

  1. Prioritise Self-Care

Remember to take care of your physical and mental well-being. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and relaxation techniques like meditation can help you stay healthy and energized. Joining a society can also help battle stress. 

  1. Delegate and Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks, when possible, both at work and in your personal life. Seek support from family, friends, or colleagues to help with chores or responsibilities!