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Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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3.5 Balancing work with the rest of your life

There may be other needs, responsibilities and constraints not yet mentioned that you need to think through, for example:

  • your age and/or health
  • having additional needs; for example, you may have a disability that makes travelling difficult for you
  • wanting to get a qualification as quickly as possible
  • needing to gain a qualification which also gives professional recognition.

To achieve your ideal work-life balance, life coach Maggie Currie suggests:

“A balanced life is one where you spread your energy and effort – emotional, intellectual, imaginative, spiritual and physical – between key areas of importance. The neglect of one or more areas, or anchor points, may threaten the vitality of the whole.”

(Currie, 2005)

At the beginning of this week you considered work–life balance as a holistic concept, not just juggling your job and other responsibilities. You will now look again at the other areas of your life.

Activity 7 Wider work–life balance

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Make some notes on the wider work–life balance commitments you will have to think about and prioritise. Make a note of the commitments you currently have under the following categories. You will come back to these in a later activity when you will begin to assess your priorities and think about time management.


Do you have interests that you regularly make time for? These could be creative, sporting, spiritual, and so on. What about time for fitness and health?

Relationships with family and friends

Apart from those dependent on you for care, how much time do you give your family and friendships? How might your social life be affected when you return to work?


Are you involved in any groups or activities in your local community (political, social, youth, religious, educational or charitable)? If so, how much time will you set aside to maintain these?

Future plans

Do you envisage that your return to work will involve extra learning and studying? Particularly if you are returning to a scientific or technical job, you may need to build in time to develop your skills and expertise and keep up with new developments.