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Balancing Act: How to Manage Multiple Life Roles

Balancing Act: How to Manage Multiple Life Roles

Like every college senior, life is a whirlwind. The balancing act I do each week takes precision and can be thrown off when one thing doesn’t go as planned.

Let me demonstrate.

I’m a senior marketing student at Cedarville University. I’m lucky to have a pretty good schedule this year and I planned this by taking a full class load the previous three years. But I’m still studying late into the night when I have a big exam – like the Ethics test last week where I was up until 2 a.m., took the test at 8 a.m. the next day, and was at work by 10. Let’s just say I was in need of caffeine.

My schedule allows me to hold a part-time job three days a week. But, I drive an hour each way between school and work, which eats into my time.

As a senior, I think about my career – a lot. Next semester this will really kick in as I begin attend career fairs, send out resumes and fit in job interviews.

On a personal level, I am the fiancé of an amazing woman. We’re planning our wedding for next June. A WEDDING! Do you realize how many decisions need to be made to plan a wedding? I’m happy my fiancé is on top of it and enjoying the process.

Clearly, balancing and staying at a high level in all of these areas can be hard. But, I’ve found a method that works best for me — I call it role reset time.

The Role Reset

This is the time I take to mentally transition myself from role to role. It happens on the drive back to school from work, in the few minutes I have before class, and as I cross campus to spend time with my fiancé.

It doesn’t take very long. It just requires putting non-essential stresses or issues behind me. One of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve ever received was to find a landmark where I can mentally leave my stresses or problems. I have a landmark for each of my roles. I was told, “You don’t need to bring these things with you, they’ll be there tomorrow.”

This doesn’t mean I don’t share what’s happening in my complete life with my significant other or friends. It means that I don’t allow stressors or problems from one role affect how I act towards the people who are in another part of my life. For example, on my way home from work I pass Kings Island, I mentally tell my problems or struggles, “go have fun at Kings lsland. I’ll pick you up when I come back.” When I leave school to drive to work I pass the Stewart’s Aircraft Service Airfield and do the same thing.

I’m working hard to transition between each of my roles and give each role in my life what it deserves, my full attention.

When I first began my internship experience my freshman year, I felt like I was developing a small case of split personality. Since then, I’ve come a long way. I’ve learned to embrace that every person has many different roles not different personalities. I’ve realized that I have to always be me and be genuine. But I understand that every situation is different and I have learned to adjust to fit each role properly.

Now I offer people advice and tell them, “Remember to find your role reset time so that you can fully function in the role you are called to be in.”

Karen Vance is the Director of Digital and Content Marketing for The Deciding Factor, Inc. She keeps busy by running her two teenage boys to sporting and musical activities. She and her husband run a baseball empire called Galaxy Baseball with 15 teams and about 160 kids. Factoid: You can find her on the weekends ringing the bass bells in her church Handbell Choir or scorekeeping baseball in the stands.
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