Finding a balance between working as a full-time physical therapist and going to school is always a challenge. While we know that some hardships are worth it to reach the end goal, it doesn’t mean that there will be a point where you feel like you’re reaching a breaking point. This article will help you find some balance between work and school and offer tips for the busy working clinician/academic.
Finding balance is better if you have a very concrete plan to follow. To pull this off, we know that you must have a strict schedule for work and school. But that schedule must also include time for exercise and eating right. If a family is involved, things can get very complicated very fast.
One thing that we’ve found helpful is the art of compartmentalization. It’s sometimes called mindfulness. Both ideas require a strict focus on the tasks at hand, which are mapped out carefully. This means when you are at work with a caseload that is what you turn your attention to. When you’re at school, focus on the tasks at hand. It requires you to leave school at school and work at work. The same with family commitments; whenever possible, if there is no crisis to deal with, you’ll have to roadmap time for the family as part of a rigorous daily structure to follow.
What we’re trying to suggest here is that working full time as a PT while in school requires all of your organizational skills. To pull this off, you must schedule everything hour by hour. This may sound completely obsessive compulsive, but it’s a necessity.
This is the time when your support network is really going to come in handy. If you have a spouse, make sure they understand how important it will be for them to step up the plate and take on more of the duties you once handled. This is critical to keeping you from burning out halfway through school.
Also, talk to your employer to ensure their buy-in with your increased workload and self-improvement educational kick. If the class time provides you with additional skills for on-the-job, they should be highly supportive. Could they move your shift to help accommodate class times? Could you flex some time out during the day to squeeze in some extra study time? How can your employer help you succeed in your educational endeavors so that everyone wins?
Follow These Tips
Full-time work and school can be a big drain on anyone. But there are ways to find balance – it just requires extensive effort, including:
- Schedule everything, no matter how big or small to maximize your daily output.
- Get the support of your network, whether at home or on the job.
- Practice being in the moment, leaving work at work, school at school, and home at home where it belongs.
If your job isn’t giving you the balance you seek in life, contact the MAS Medical team to talk about your options. We’re standing by to help you improve your life.