This is a guest post written by Samantha Johnson
If you are a young entrepreneur, chances are that a lot of generic advice is thrown your way. Everyone has a lot of opinions about the best way to run a business, but the truth is that no one else has the vantage point that you do. No one knows your business and your academic interests the way you do.
As a student, balancing college & entrepreneurship, you will confront unique challenges.
Finding a balance between these two elements of your life is going to be absolutely essential, but there is no quick-fix for this. You have to be persistent and consistent – that is the hard part.
Here is a guide to help you balance college and entrepreneurship, all the while staying motivated and avoiding burnout!
“Having it all” is a nice dream to carry. For someone who is juggling major responsibilities, it is tempting to think that you’d be able to do everything perfectly. It is good to aim at perfection, but it is also important to be realistic about which goals can be achieved.
Split your larger goals into
- Short-term goals: What are the short-term targets and milestones you want to hit? How will they lead to the larger picture? How does this justify working alongside college rather than after?
- Long-term goals: What is your business trying to achieve? Make a rough timeline for certain milestones – align these milestones with your annual and 5-year plans.
Make peace with the fact that there are bound to be trade-offs and sacrifices down the road.
Create A Plan of Action
Balancing college & entrepreneurship is an immense responsibility. But timely and realistic planning can be a savior. Make a schedule, make a list of things to do, develop a plan of action. Split it into daily goals and stick to the list.
If you are looking for some inspiration on getting started with lists, here is a guide.
That is great.
But don’t get addicted to the hustle that you stop operating as a human. Overworking is, if anything, a terrible strategy, and points to inefficiency. If you need a change from the business, don’t switch to a college project and vice versa.
When you are in need of it, you should actually take rest.
This could mean regular breaks while working – try using the Pomodoro Technique for that. Or take out some time every weekend for rejuvenation, whether it means you hang out with your friends, or hit the gym, or catch a movie!
Create A Designated Study & Office Space
Having a dedicated space for your college work and business is a prerequisite for your productivity.
Having a quiet space, with the right lighting and furniture can create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Equip your office space with all the tools you need: a whiteboard, marker, post-its, laptop, tablet, printer. In fact, create a space that motivates you to get work done. Install a standing desk if it helps with productivity.
Stay Physically Active
It is a widely known fact that exercising regularly can help boost brain functions.
When you have so many projects to juggle – academic and professional, it is easy to forget to take care of your self. Sitting in front of the laptop all day long can quickly become a sedentary lifestyle and that can be very harmful to your long-term health.
So do not be short-sighted when trying to balance college & entrepreneurship. Finding the time or make time to indulge in some yoga or dance fitness will give you a clear mind & ease stress.
Alternatively, hit the gym for at least an hour each day.
Get Enough Sleep
Because we glamourize overwork so much, sleeping less is often worn as a badge of honor. Nothing could be further from the truth. You shouldn’t be compromising on your sleep! A sleep deficit can seriously impair your judgment, cause decision fatigue and/or impact productivity.
- Make sure you are sleeping at least 8 hours in a day
- Inadequate sleep is related to a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and dementia.
- Invest in your sleep: make your bed comfortable, limit your screen time before bed
- Take power naps during the day to make up for the sleep deficit, but make sure power naps work for you.
Make Use of Student Privileges & University Resources Wherever You Can
As a college student, you get access to a lot of resources – whether it means access to online journals or the various student discounts available on various software tools and products or cheaper/extended trials for various services.
Apart from these perks, you have the entire college resources at your disposal – the experts, professors, courses, student organizations, students themselves. You can find a mentor, an idea or even hire your employees from this
Expert faculty members, academic courses and student organizations are all at your fingertips, so take advantage while you can. Professors often make great advisors and can be well-connected, helping to make introductions to contacts who can help grow your business.
Engage In Projects That Serve A Dual Purpose
Let’s be practical. No matter how hard you try, if you want to excel at something, you have to give it your time and effort. So when you have to choose projects in college, try and link them to your business.
Have a project on a marketing research proposal?
Link it to your business field. The output will not only become your college submission, but the information will also help you with your business research.
Have a pilot test run for your business? Choose the same modules for your college and run it as a part of academic activities!
Learn to say NO
We want to be able to do a lot of things in our lives – but we only have limited time, resources and energy.
So even if you want to do several things at once, you should learn the art of saying ‘No’ to things that don’t bring you joy.
Balancing college & entrepreneurship requires a lot of motivation and you should reserve your passion for projects that drive you!
Samantha Johnson reminisces the hustle of her college days when she was running a local business. The skills she picked up as an entrepreneur come in handy in her role as a project manager at office.eco, where she builds, nurtures and grows the company!