How to Balance Work, Study and Life

Being a student, an employee, and a person is a lot to do at once. Balancing the three can become a burden quickly.  

It is difficult to achieve this in this digital day and age where staying on task is hard and actually reaching the feeling of being productive is harder. Chasing that feeling of productivity can feel like being a hamster on a wheel. This article is only a short look at some of the habits you can adopt to balance work, study, and life more effectively.  


To adapt an analogy from Brian Dyson, former CEO of Coca-Cola, in your life you are juggling balls. Some of these balls are made of glass and some are made of plastic. If a plastic balls falls, it will bounce. No harm done. If a glass ball falls, it will break and cannot be put back together. 

Plastic balls could be getting the washing done or replying to that email. Glass balls are more important; not just to you, but to everyone in your life that you value.  

Make sure you know which of your ball are plastic and which ones are glass. You may kick yourself if you drop a plastic ball, but there is a lot less harm done than when you drop a glass ball.  

You need to know your priorities. When a ball shatters it cannot be put back together. 

Examples of plastic balls: 

  • Getting the washing done 
  • Having a nutritional and balanced meal every single night  
  • That minor work meeting 

Look for ways to reduce load 

In working it is always beneficial to look for ways to reduce your load and concentrate your work. Whether this is training that will improve your productivity at work or meal prepping to reduce your load at home, these little things will make a big difference at the end of a long day.  

How you can practise this: 

  • Planning out your meals and grocery list before going to the supermarket 
  • Implement email signatures for common emails you send 

Know when to call time 

Knowing when to call time is an incredibly valuable skill. Slaving over a task for longer than is needed is time you can never get back. We all have an inner perfectionist, but sometimes you need to let go to make room for other pressing work. Will that one final detail really make a difference? 

On the same vein is knowing when you need a break. No one can continue endlessly like a robot, and it is more beneficial to give your brain a break than to keep on going.  

How you can have a break: 

  • Watch Netflix 
  • Have a nice shower or bath 
  • Take yourself on a date your favourite restaurant 
  • Go for a walk 

2-minute rule  

A habit that will save you time in the short-term is following the 2-minute rule. If a task can be done in two minutes or less, do it now. You will feel so much better coming home and seeing that you have already emptied the bin and made your bed.  

How you can practise this: 

  • Empty bins when you see they are full 
  • Make your bed when you wake up 
  • Do the dishes if there are only a few
  • Pay bills as you receive them 

Start the day right 

People are generally more productive in the morning. Waking up and starting your day straight away with a solid morning routine will put you in good stead for the rest of the day.  

If you finish your morning routine ready for a day of work, you will not only be more motivated to get started but you will also feel like you have already achieved something.  

Getting a chunk of your tasks done before lunch will not only give you a sense of satisfaction but will also possibly free up post-lunch time to relax.  

Your morning routine could include: 

  • Making your bed 
  • Having a cup of tea or coffee 
  • Having a shower 
  • Packing your lunch 
  • Exercising 
  • Write a to-do list

Stop Multi-Tasking 

When you are trying to multi-task, your brain cannot properly focus on one thing. This could result in missing important information or making a mistake. To become more productive and improve your work life, stop multi-tasking. Take time to completely a task in its entirety instead of bouncing around from task to task without ever putting your full attention on one thing.  

Writing To-Do Lists 

It is well-known that breaking down tasks into processes able chunks makes it easier to start chipping away at the greater project. When you are writing a to-do list – possibly as a part of your morning routine – focus on chunks. Break your larger tasks down into singular tasks that are only one or two steps.  


It’s a common story: a quick glance at your phone turned into non-stop scrolling. Using your phone can feel like a guilty pleasure instead of a legitimate form of entertainment when you are overworked and time pressured. Relieve the guilt by being on your phone with purpose. When you want to use your phone, give yourself permission to do it. Identifying a clear time period and reason will make you more fulfilled.  

Practise this with as much as you can. Justifying why you are completing a task will leave you with a greater feeling of productivity than you would expect. It sounds silly, but it really works! 

Tell yourself: 

  • “I am going to spend 15 minutes on Facebook to entertain myself” 
  • “I am going on this walk for exercise and for mental health” 
  • “I am going to bed early to feel less tired and improve my mental health” 

Hack your mental health 

Almost 20% of the adult population in the US suffers from anxiety. While we don’t all have the clinically diagnosable condition, everyone exhibits symptoms from time to time. When you feel yourself sinking down into lower periods mentally, you can mitigate some of these feelings by ‘hacking’ your mental health. There are 4 common ‘happy hormones’ that you may want to trigger the release of to combat against low periods.  

Dopamine is the reward hormone. It has been suggested that foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, beef, chicken, and eggs can boost dopamine levels.

You should also: 

  • Get enough sleep 
  • Listen to music 
  • Exercise 
  • Meditate 

Serotonin is the mood lifter hormone. Foods such as eggs, cheese, turkey, nuts, salmons, tofu, and pineapple could improve your serotonin.

Other activities you can complete include: 

  • Sitting in the sun 
  • Keeping a gratitude journal 
  • Getting enough sleep 
  • Exercising 
  • Meditating  
  • Listening to music 

Oxytocin is the love hormone. Increase it by: 

  • Spending time with people you care about 
  • Practicing yoga 
  • Listening to music 
  • Tell the people you care about how much you care 
  • Meditate 

Endorphins are a pain reliever and a reward. Dark chocolate and wine have been found to increase levels of it. You can also try: 

  • Laughing 
  • Listening to music 
  • Eating 
  • Meditating 

How to hit multiple at once: 

  • Exercise outside while listening to your favourite music 
  • Spend time with your friends while eating healthily 
  • Keep a gratitude journal and maintain a healthy diet 
  • Get enough sleep (7-9 hours a night) 

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