Higher EducationWork-Life Balance

Hooray! It’s August/September and the students are coming back to campus and that means for those of us in student affairs, we are as the French would say, “le busy.”

Most of us expect this time of year to be filled with orientations, welcome, and all sorts of amazing programs. We expect ourselves to be busy this time of year (which is good) but in that hustle and bustle we have to make sure we don’t continue or repeat negative work-life habits.

To help ensure you are at optimum work-life, here are 3 simple tips for you to consider as you begin the academic year.

1) Take Some Time off ASAP. Start of year means many more hours than usual. If you can, use that comp time the first chance you can. If you don’t get comp time (boo to the overlords who tell you you’re salaried and to live with it) then take a day or two to refresh and recenter. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving or Holiday break to take time. The campus will survive for a day or two without you. Take the time. Don’t feel guilty.

2) Revisit the Work-Life Conversation (with Your Supervisor). So if you haven’t had a work-life conversation based on your needs and job expectations then you just need to have the talk with your boss when things settle down. If you have had the conversation then reflect on what you want the ebb and flow of your work-life to look like and compare it to your current reality. If there’s an imbalance then ask yourself if this is caused by work, your own personal choices or both. If work is negatively impacting you on a consistent basis then have the chat with your boss.

3) Build “you” time into your daily routine. Even 10-15 minutes of something you enjoy will relieve stress and put you in a better space mentally. Ideally, build “you” time into your routine 2-3 times daily (at least). If possible, get out from your office or event space for a little while too. Physical separation is key in preventing feelings that those walls are closing in on you or tabulating when the last time you felt actual sunlight on your shoulders was.

It’s a busy time of year but it’s also a great time of year with all sorts of great energy and enthusiasm. Don’t let the daily grind throw you off from your work-life goals. Be aware and adjust when needed. You got this!


Dr. Paul Artale is a motivational speaker, author, and organizational coach who helps organizations create high performance culture through understanding employee needs and leveraging their strengths. 

For more information visit www.paulartale.com

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