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3 Top Tips to maintain a good work/study - life balance

By Pathusha Pushpakanthan

Year 2 Kings Medical Student

I think I should start off by admitting that I still find it very challenging to achieve a good work-life balance from time to time. Especially now as I write this post during our third lockdown - sitting at a desk all day is not easy! Whilst researching for this post, I came across similar tips shared by leading career mentors, medical trainees and from students themselves.

So, to begin with, what is a work/study - life balance and why is it so important?

· Work/Life balance is reaching an equilibrium between meeting the demands of your studies or job, with meeting the demands of your own needs.

A healthy balance helps to:

  • avoid burn-out

  • relieve stress

  • develop a healthier mindset against challenges that appear in either aspect (work or life)

I remember in the first term of medical school, the transition to this new level of study was overwhelming and it put immense pressure on me. I focused all my efforts into studying and put my self-care in the passenger seat, affecting my sleep, mood, and memory. There are many studies demonstrating that a poor work-life balance affects both physical and mental wellbeing.

Here are a few tips that hopefully you can use to help build your own plans to achieve this balance:

1. Effective Time Management

This is a tricky one, not only because when I hear “time management” I get flash backs to

medical school interviews, but because it is not easy to set times in the day to achieve

certain tasks when there are so many distractions, or tasks that end up taking longer than expected.

  • Use a planner to organise tasks /Calendar on your devices

  • Making more realistic goals, both on what you need to achieve for work and for your own wellbeing

I put a huge emphasis on realistic goals because a common pitfall when setting goals is planning to tackle too many tasks in one day. You may feel disappointed at the end of the day when you don’t manage to complete all of them.

  • Making goals for your own wellbeing – personal goals

I like to split my diary into work goals and personal goals each day. This can range from simple house chores to taking a bath or even cooking a home-made meal. A useful resource that I found aside from a diary/calendar, is the app Trello – it’s a free tool that allows you to organise the different projects you have on one board. It also allows you to track the progress of each of the different projects.

2. Good Studying and Relaxing habits

This is a key skill to home in on, as a mind that is switched on all day is not sustainable

and will most definitely lead to burn out and poo