The Work Life Balance

By Thomas Almassey


While I was hosting a tabling event the other day, a student approached me. He asked how exactly I am able to keep myself organized and prioritize my time, and I couldn't help but share my experience. Going from high school to community college to the University of Illinois, I witnessed the differences in each and adapted to my environment. As my college career progressed, I learned to develop my prioritization skills and wanted to share the system I have developed.

As a junior in mechanical engineering taking 17 credit hours, school has become a full-time job. And that doesn't include eating, cleaning, going out with friends, being a student ambassador, and finding time to sleep. Being a full time job, I cannot help but to follow an organization system that works for me, so that I may get a wholesome college experience. It also helped me with procrastination, so I don't have that last minute "cram for my test" scare that I know everyone experiences. When I was at the tabling session I told the student to take two categories into account: importance and urgency.

If something is important it will have a greater impact on your life if you do not do it, such as study for a final. If something is urgent, then it has to be completed in the near future. This chart is an example of the importance/urgency chart for me.

This is a example of how I split up my priorities. The red indicated something to be done immediately, then blue, and green is last. Note that just because something is green doesn't mean that you cannot get around to it. Anything on the list is something you want to do, it just helps to show what you need to do and keeps yourself honest with priorities you have. The goal is to not have anything in the red, and can do that by working on the blue here and there. If you put in the time well before the assignment is due, you will find yourself less stressed out and have more time to do the things you want to do. So if you do not think you have a good work/life balance, I urge you to make your own importance/urgency chart to organize your own priorities.