The idea of starting an Online MBA program when you are already working full-time, taking care of a family, or have your own business can feel very daunting. Your time is precious, and the hours that were devoted to unwinding or spending time with your family may now be devoted to learning new material and fulfilling course requirements. Feeling a bit overwhelmed is common, but you will find that learning to balance business school and life can be easier than you think with a few tweaks. In this article, you will find easy to implement suggestions that will simplify the transition to online business school. If you are already stressed, start with implementing just one tip, and then as you gain momentum, add on more.
Choose Your Program Wisely
If you are looking into top business schools to find your Online MBA program, you have many choices in front of you. One important step of choosing a program includes picking a format that works for you and your life. Your work or family obligations, learning style, and ideal graduation timeline should all be considered. For this reason, paying attention to the format of your prospective programs is essential. Are you wanting a 100% online program? Would you appreciate a hybrid program with in-person opportunities? There are also programs that are formatted with cohorts. The difference between a cohort-style program with set deadlines and an asynchronous curriculum that allows you to work at your pace can drastically impact your stress level if it is not the right fit. There is no right or wrong format for Online MBAs, but finding a degree with the right flow will greatly help you balance business school and life.
Create A Schedule
One of the biggest struggles for students at any level is time management. But for those earning their Online MBA, this can be even more difficult. Graduate-level coursework is intense and time-consuming. The flexibility on most Online Master’s of Business Administration programs is great because it allows students to work their studies around career, family, and life obligations. The downside to this is that if you are not careful with your schedule, you may find yourself rushing to turn in assignments at the last minute or not having enough time to prepare for your next exam. One of the best strategies you can implement to help balance business school and life is to be intentional with your time by creating a schedule. For some people, this means writing out their days in a planner down to the hour. For others, a general calendar will do the trick to keep track of important dates. The critical thing is to create a system that works for you and stick with it!
Tools For Staying Organized
Here are some of the top tools for staying organized and using your time wisely. A big plus is most are free and allow you to invite others in so that you can sink group projects or family calendars.
Workona is a free and easy-to-use tabs manager. It is an excellent resource to help you organize and compartmentalize all of the websites for school, work, and home. In addition to visually keeping things organized, this browser plug-in offers a resource section for important documents and links, a notes section, and a tasks section in a checklist-style format.
Trello allows teams and individuals to create custom boards for everything from school assignments to meal planning. This is a particularly great tool for students who enjoy customizing and making visually appealing planners. But even those who like to keep things simple will appreciate the features like timelines, tables, to-do lists, and more. There are even hundreds of templates to choose from, making it easy to plug in and get organized.
Cozi is a great tool for Online MBA students who are juggling family obligations. The app allows family members to coordinate their schedules in one convenient location, see the day’s agenda at a glance. Each family member or type of event can be color-coded, making keeping track of big test dates, soccer practice, and doctor’s appointments simple and easy.
Make Time For Self-Care
When we think about self-care, a lot of times, our mind immediately goes to things like a spa day or vacation. Those things are great but may not be accessible to busy Online MBA students. Realistic self-care may look like making sure that you are eating a balanced diet, exercising, meditation, or getting enough rest. According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, regular exercise can boost both thinking skills and memory. Mediation also comes with many science-backed benefits such as reducing stress, lengthening attention span, improving sleep, and decreasing blood pressure. Building in downtime can also be really helpful. It is easy to get caught up in the cycle of constantly being on the go. But consciously scheduling breaks and enjoying friends or family can really create more feelings of a balanced life.
Maker Sure That You Have The Right Tools
Online MBA programs require up-to-date technology. If you are constantly dealing with a lagging internet, a slow processing computer, or can’t log on to your student portal, that will add extra stress to your distance learning experience. Paying attention to your budget is always a good choice, however, some expenses are necessary to ensure your success. Don’t let technology get in the way of accomplishing your goals!
Here are a few important steps to set you up for success and help you find balance during your Online MBA.
- Make sure that you choose a program that works for your goals and lifestyle.
- Utilize technology as a way to stay organized and on track.
- Designate a quiet space to work on school assignments. This should be done before your program begins so that when you are working, you can truly be focused and make the most of the time you invest.
- Talk with your family and friends about the amount of time needed to study and prepare for exams. Having everyone on the same page is key.
- Be sure to take breaks and take care of yourself utilizing tools like a healthy diet, meditation, and exercise. Download an app like Headspace to get started and on the right track today.