Work Life Balance

Hi everybody,

Today I want to give students tips about work life balance from my own experience. As an international student, apart from studying, working has also been a major part of my student life. Working while studying is not an easy combination for anyone. The workload from school particularly Hanken is demanding since most courses have a project that entails working in teams, doing extensive research and very tight deadlines. As I write my thesis now, I can reflect on some issues I learned along the way.

  1. Set your priorities – My friend challenged me one day and asked me why I work so hard and the obvious answer was to pay bills. Then he sat me down and we made an excel file showing my income and expenditure. I realized the more money I earned I was sending it back home or just spending shopping. The point is making priorities involves defining what is important or not. This exercise helped me reduce my work hours significantly hence free up time to do things I like more.
  2. Learning to say “No” – This is something I think everybody experiences. Not being able to turn down offers be it taking too many courses, joining many clubs or not being able to refuse to attend those Sitsitz. Too many engagements lead to one feeling anxious and stressed. It took me a while but nowadays I do feel confident enough to turn down commitments that do not fit with my priorities. You too can achieve this if you practise.
  3. Setting quality objectives – The objectives determine the kind of activities you engage in. Hence it is important to choose those activities that you like. I have many friends who go to the gym, but I am more into sports, so I go to futsal, tennis, badminton. For me this makes me happy. I have many friends who pay for the gym every month but never go.
  4. Planning – Time management is a widely covered topic in almost all self-help books. One way I discovered that worked for me is creating checklist and scheduling my tasks. Prior to my first summer job I used to plan mentally but I learned about a Kanban board. This systematic tracking of activities has improved my time management and also boosted my productivity so much that I have managed to get more free time to indulge in other hobbies and take better care of myself.
  5. Taking care of oneself – I woke up in February 27th only to realize my birthday marked crossing over the 30-year mark. As I blew my birthday cake I wished for health and wellbeing. Since then I have made looking after myself a big priority in my life. This includes sleeping more, taking healthier foods and am starting to feel amazing.

Am sure there are many other things that are covered in work life balance. This for me is what has been some of the lessons I have learned the hard way. Luckily, Hanken does care about this issue. In Vaasa we have had work break exercises on Tuesdays targeting different parts of the body such as mouse arm or neck that strain due to long sitting. Furthermore, there are coupons that can be used in various fitness places such as gyms or swimming hall. The student membership also entitles students in Vaasa campus to ÅA motion sticker which gives Hanken student access to sport activities organized in conjunction with Åbo Akademi.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to contact me at for any questions about the general management program, or life here in Vaasa.

-Silas Mwangi