Time Management Tips from a Tired (but Totally Happy) Nursing Student

time management for nursing students

Being a nursing student and hospital worker is no easy feat, especially when I am also trying to balance my family life. As a freshman in nursing school, I often find myself overwhelmed with the tasks and responsibilities that come with them. Not only do I have to focus on my studies, but I also have to work 3–4 shifts a week and make sure to spend quality time with my wife and 2-year-old daughter. It’s a constant juggling act, and I know I’m not alone.

Juggling Work, School, and Family Life as a Nursing Student

Let me tell you, balancing work, school, and family life is not easy. As a nursing student and hospital worker, I’m always on the go, juggling various responsibilities. At times, it can feel overwhelming and downright exhausting. But despite the challenges, I’m determined to make it work.

Data on employed students is fascinating. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, around 43 percent of full-time undergraduate students and 81 percent of part-time undergraduate students in the United States are employed. 

And that’s just undergraduate students—graduate students are even more likely to work while in school.

The numbers are similar worldwide, with many students holding jobs to support themselves while studying. It’s easy to see why so many students must work while studying and try managing time right. College tuition and living expenses can be expensive, and student loans can quickly pile up. On top of that, many students have families to support, which can make working even more necessary. 

It’s a tough balancing act, but it’s the one that I’m determined to master. 

I’m lucky enough to have a supportive wife and daughter who understands the demands of my schedule. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At that time, I have to miss out on family events or cut my study time short of making it to work. It’s not ideal, but it’s the reality of my situation. But it’s possible to make it work with the right ways of time management and support system. I’m determined to keep pushing forward, knowing that all of this hard work will pay off in the end.

Mastering the Art of Time Management

As I navigate the challenges of balancing work, school, and family life, I’ve come to realize that time management is key. This time is a precious commodity, and making the most of it is essential. However, it’s not just me who struggles with most of the time shortage. Studies show that time shortage varies with age. 

In his research, Christopher Steven Marcum states that younger people till 27 years often have more free time, but they also have fewer responsibilities (2013). On the other hand, people about 30 years old and older have more responsibilities but less free time. 

For example, a 2016 study by Pew Research Center found that parents of children under 18 have less free time than those without children. In today’s fast-paced world, multitasking has become a global trend. Many people, myself included, have tried to do more than one thing at a time. While it may seem like a way to get more done, research has shown that multitasking can harm productivity and mental health. 

A study by Stanford University found that multitasking is less efficient than focusing on one task at a time. It can also lead to increased stress levels and decreased cognitive function. 

As I strive to balance my responsibilities and time efficiency, I’ve learned that focusing on one task at a time is more effective than trying everything simultaneously. So, what are some time management tips that have worked for me? 

  • First and foremost, prioritizing tasks is essential. 

I make a to-do list at the beginning of each day and prioritize tasks based on their importance. This way, I know what needs to be done and can focus on the most important tasks first. I also try to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. This makes tackling larger projects easier and helps avoid feeling overwhelmed on that time.

  • Another time management idea that has worked for me is to take breaks when needed. 

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking short breaks can actually increase productivity. When I feel overwhelmed, I take a few minutes to step away from my work and clear my mind. Whether going for a walk or listening to music, taking a break can help me refocus and tackle tasks more efficiently. 

  • Technology can also be a useful tool for managing time effectively

Many apps and tools can help with time management, such as Trello, Asana, and Google Calendar. Personally, I’ve found that using a timer or stopwatch can help me to stay focused and motivated. For example, I’ll set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a task until the timer goes off. Then, I take a short break before starting the next task. This method, known as the Pomodoro Technique, has been shown to increase productivity and improve time management.

Organizing Studies: My Experience with Trello and Asana

As someone who has to balance work, school, and family life, I know how important it is to stay organized and on top of my tasks. I turned to time management apps to help me manage my schedule and responsibilities.

One of the apps that I’ve found particularly helpful is Trello. It’s a task management app that allows me to create boards, lists, and cards to organize my tasks and projects. I use it to keep track of my school assignments, work projects, and personal tasks. I can create different boards for each area of my life and then add cards with specific tasks to each board. I can also assign due dates, labels, and comments to each card, which helps me managing work and know what I need to focus on each day. 

Another app that I’ve found useful is Asana. It’s a project management app that allows me to create tasks, subtasks, and deadlines for each project. I use it primarily for work time, but it could also be adapted for school assignments. One of the things I like about Asana is that it allows me to collaborate with my coworkers on projects. We can all see what tasks need to be done and who is responsible for each one. This helps us work together more efficiently and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. 

Using time management tools has made a big difference in my ability to juggle work, school, and family life. They’ve helped me stay organized, prioritize my tasks, and be on time when someone need me. I highly recommend trying them if you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling to manage your time effectively.

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Jean Chavez
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Jean is a compassionate nursing student and hospital worker from New York. He’s balancing his life between work, studies and family time. His wife and 2-year-old daughter support him on his way to becoming a doctor.