Being a nurse, it’s often challenging to have a work-life balance. Everyone wants a balanced life because it’s good for their physical and mental health, their relationships with family and colleagues, and their work performance, but how can you actually achieve a work-life balance?
I always tell my nursing students how important time management is. More often than not, we’re too busy trying to keep up with our daily activities and workload, but good time management can help you achieve more in a shorter period of time and with less effort, and help you make better decisions. As a result, you will have more free time and more success, which in turn leads to lower stress and frustration.
Here are some useful steps to help you manage your time effectively and achieve a work-life balance:
- Identify your priorities and values between home and work. Always work on the most urgent and important goals and tasks first. Readjust the demands of work and home as much as possible.
- Assess how you currently spend your time. Keep a time log for a week and look for activities which you should set limits and boundaries on your time—both at home and at work.
- Make yourself a priority by practicing good self-care, and take care of yourself in a holistic way—taking into account both physical and mental health.
- Improve your nutrition by having a healthy breakfast, taking a break for lunch or healthy snacks, and spending time with family for dinner.
- Integrate exercise into your day. Enroll in a yoga, Pilates, or mindfulness meditation class or other relaxation activity that can help you reduce stress.
- Improve your sleep health by making your bedroom as inviting as possible.
- Learn to say “NO.” Sometimes you need to let someone know that you are not available to take on a new request or attend another meeting.
- Take time to reflect on the positive parts of your day and life.
- Make time for the things you love. Have a good time trying out other areas of well-being.
- Identify workplace and personal challenges that create stress, and develop an action plan for addressing or coping with them.
- Acknowledge losses and give yourself permission to grieve.
- Seek support from your families, friends, and colleagues in areas that seem to be the most challenging. Consider using your organization’s employee benefit program, peer associations, and support groups for assistance.
Have fun and enjoy a balance of your work and personal life!
Approximately 85.11% of candidates passed the NCLEX RN on their first attempt in 2017, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). You can be one of those who passes the exam on the first try, too; you just have to know how and work through it.
Here are five tips to help guide you.
1. Familiarize yourself with the NCSBN website.
The NCSBN website provides critical information that you need to know about the NCLEX before taking the exam. Check all the rules and requirements. You need to get to know anything and everything you can about the exam so you can take the NCLEX exam with confidence.
2. Start preparing early.
Give yourself enough time to study. Establishing a timetable for your study is essential. Manage your study as if it is your full-time job. Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. Everyone is different, so make sure you develop a study routine that works for you, whether that’s studying in the AM if you’re a morning person OR in the evening if you are most productive at night.
3. Discover your knowledge early on.
It is crucial that you figure out the areas where you feel especially weak and that you need to focus on the most. Make sure that you spend more time reviewing content material related to these areas and keep practicing.
4. Take practice exams every day.
One of the most effective ways to prepare for the NCLEX exam is to practice taking past versions. It is important to take multiple practice tests and answer hundreds of questions in order to become increasingly familiar with the test format and questions. Also, take more time to review the correct answers for the questions you got wrong. The NCLEX exam is designed to determine if you have nursing knowledge and critical thinking skills required to begin practicing as a nurse. You are required to analyze the test questions using your critical thinking skills and nursing knowledge to make decisions about common nursing situations. There are a great deal of online guides and test questions, many of them free or at an affordable price. Make sure that you take advantage of these resources. A particular resource that I would recommend is the NCSBN’s Review for the NCLEX Exam.
5. Last but not least, set yourself up for success on the test day.
Stay positive and expect to pass. What everyone says is true–a good night’s sleep can make all the difference. Make sure you go to bed early the night before the test and regulate a full night of sleep (at least 7-8 hours). Be relaxed during the exam and remind yourself that you are well-prepared for the exam and ready to pass.