The Secret to Balancing Work/Life/Family and Being an Online Student?  Big Rocks…


 Next to affordability, the most common reason why women put off going back to school is because they believe they don’t have time to attend courses and study in addition to their work and family obligations. Successful women learners, even those earning their degree online, have tapped into what noted author Stephen Covey has been preaching for decades in his “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” series. If you identify the most important priorities in your life FIRST—and make time for those before anything else—it’s amazing how much you can fit into your life, including your education!

If you are not familiar with Dr. Covey, you may have seen his famous four-quadrant approach to prioritizing your tasks:

Covey table.png

In recent years, Dr. Covey took this concept a step further, simplifying it in a compelling visual example called “Big Rocks.” Dr. Covey uses this to demonstrate that the key to fitting all of our top priorities into hectic lives is by focusing on first things first, or "big rocks" first. Take a few moments to watch Dr. Covey explain in this YouTube video:

As he points out, when you have competing priorities, it can feel as if you’re standing in pounding surf, getting knocked down by one giant wave after another. If you give equal weight to every task or obligation, you will quickly fill up your time with activities that are neither urgent nor important, leaving no space for the “big rocks.” This dilemma is usually worse for women than for men.

Are You Focusing on the “Big Rocks?”

As the video shows, the common threads among the big rocks are your relationships and the roles you play (or are expected to perform). We know that life doesn’t just stop because we decide to go back to school. The enrollment decision is the first—and most important one—but just making that decision doesn’t guarantee you’ll graduate.

To fit school into your already 100%-committed life, some of the small rocks may have to be put on hold, rearranged, sacrificed, for the end goal. This may represent a large paradigm shift that requires you to focus on relationships vs. schedules—organizing your life around the roles you have with yourself and other people, then dealing with what else is on your plate.

Be sure that “getting my degree” is one of your big rocks. If you run out of space for the smaller items, chances are they’re not that important after all!

Are you one of 76 million American women who has accomplished many things in your life yet still lacks a bachelor's degree? You are not alone. At The American Women's College, we understand the reasons that women pause their education early in life. Let us show you how to make that dream come true!




References:  (illustration credit)