When I started my MBA journey, I believed that work-life balance was an impossible phenomenon. How could it be accomplished? I had a full-time, demanding job, plus a toddler analogous to an energizer bunny, a never ending honey-do list, and oh yeah, WEMBA!
“Overwhelmed” doesn’t come close to explaining the state I was in during the first few weeks of the Weekend Executive MBA program. The combined demands from work, family, and school left me with very little time for anything else, including sleep. Supposedly, I lied to myself that I could actually master it all. Sure enough, I started dropping some balls — forgetting to respond to some important work e-mails, forgetting to have breakfast, and one day I even microwaved pineapples by mistake!!
Now in Term 4, I am starting to understand the concept of work-life balance. For me, finding work-life balance meant transforming not only the way I did things, but also the expectations of those around me. Work-life balance is not actually about mastering everything. It’s about prioritizing. So, what did I do?
- I started outsourcing my honey-do list — no more mowing lawns, no more laundry. My wife understood and supported me, and she has become more comfortable with taking over more of the household duties.
- I taught our toddler the words “school” and “do not disturb.”
- At work, my manager and team have been very supportive. I keep them aware of my schedule and limitations, and they have taken the lead on some tasks that I would have been responsible for otherwise. They stepped in and provide all the needed help.
- I learned to block out time on my calendar for specific tasks that I must complete, and I have become better at planning things in advance.
- When I have school assignments, they take priority and get done as soon as possible, so that I have one less deadline to focus on. I learned that the longer I wait to complete a task, the more strenuous it seems to become … so, no procrastination for me!
Becoming more organized takes focus and dedication. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done. I have managed to develop a method (described above) that works for me, and has helped me balance family, work, and school responsibilities, with very minimal conflicts. In addition, I’ve found that the MBA experience becomes less about making the highest grades, and is more about networking, advancing your career, personal progression, and developing your passion. Taking some of the pressure off of myself to master every assignment was helpful in feeling more balanced. Although, this is a very busy time in my life, going through the Weekend Executive program is an experience worth living, and it gets better (and easier) with time.