Throughout this whole journey, I have learnt many lessons about work-life balance, and how the lack of it can set you back when all you want is to fast-track your growth,says Jumana Abu-Hannoud, a GWLP Scholar and Board member at Bayes Business School (UK).

Pursuing a Master's degree can be time-consuming and difficult, and juggling between study, work, and private life only adds to the challenge. However, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for both the emotional and physical well-being of students. In this article, we will explore some effective tips and strategies to help you with your work-life balance while studying for a Master's degree.

Set realistic expectations and goals

The first step is to set realistic expectations and goals for yourself. Acquiring an advanced degree requires a lot of time and dedication. So by understanding the programme requirements and expectations, you can better plan your precious time for both academic and personal responsibilities.

Sieun Ruth Lee learned this herself during her studies at Northwestern University (US). “It was easy for me to see where I wanted to be in one year, or five, but I had a hard time figuring out what weekly steps would get me there,” she highlights and adds: “As a result, I was setting goals too high to achieve in a week. Since then, [my mentor] Tristan has helped me learn to break up my big-picture goals into smaller tasks that are challenging but realistic.

Time management

One of the most critical aspects of maintaining a healthy work-life balance is time management. Making a schedule for both academic and personal commitments will help you in that regard. Just like Erin Persil, who graduated with a Master's degree from George Washington University (US), you may be more organised and focused if you prioritise your tasks within specific blocks of time.

I am a part-time student and then I also work full-time. I like to stay organised using a calendar planner. I typically don’t write out the entire month ahead of time just because I know things change. The things I usually write down a week in advance would be my class readings, assignments due, my work shifts, and fun things I look forward to throughout the week,” Erin says about her planning process.

Learn to be flexible and adaptable

Another important piece of advice is to try to be flexible and adaptable. Especially after the prolonged monotony of the pandemic, it is crucial to re-learn to adapt to different situations and be open to making the necessary changes in your schedule. This will not only help you achieve a proper work-life balance, but it will be a useful mindset to have in the professional world.

The ability to adapt to new environments and work processes is a skill that is highly sought-after by employers and can make you a more competitive job candidate, according to the employment website Indeed. To work on improving your adaptability, try to be aware of any changes in your environment, be open to trying new things, and practise asking for feedback.

Communicate with your employer, professors, and family members

Being able to communicate openly with your employer, professors, and family members is an essential aspect of preparing for work-life balance during your Masters studies. Let your employer know about your academic responsibilities and, if needed, discuss flexible working hours.

In addition, inform your professors of any work commitments that can affect your academic schedule. And finally, let your family and friends know about your tight schedule and ask for their understanding and support.


Finally, make sure you care for yourself sufficiently. Many students often neglect their physical and mental well-being while pursuing a Masters degree. But self-care is crucial for achieving work-life balance. You must take breaks, add movement or exercise to your daily life, eat healthy, and get enough sleep. It is also important to schedule activities that bring you joy and relax your mind, such as spending time with friends and family and pursuing your hobbies. Also, you can seek help from peers, professors, and other student staff, such as student counsellors, when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Remember stress and anxiety are part of life. We can’t magically change feelings, shares Mrs Phoebe Sanders, psychologist and student counsellor at the University of Newcastle (Australia). “It is normal to get distracted by a thought or a feeling or a memory or noise.

Preparing for work-life balance while studying for a Master's degree requires careful planning and a significant commitment. By setting realistic expectations and goals, managing your time effectively, being flexible and adaptable, communicating openly, and prioritising self-care, you can strike a healthier balance between your academic and personal responsibilities. By implementing these tips and strategies, you can effectively manage the requirements of a Master's programme and still lead a happy personal life.