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Balancing Work, Study and Travel

Introduction: Friends have always wondered how I managed to juggle work, school as well as traveling. I would not say there is a one-method-fits-all kind of thing, but after knowing my strengths and weaknesses, I suppose I found my own personal fix to really utilising my time wisely.

Just a disclaimer, I do have my down-times, where I absolutely have no energy or simply no motivation to keep on moving. I wouldn’t consider that a burn-out, because I have already planned my activities way in advance – months ahead, actually. To simply get out of this phase is really difficult, but it is always about you and yourself. I mentally school my thoughts every time this happens. It may take days, weeks and months – but it is important for me, or anybody actually, to know that everybody has their ups and downs. So this is a part of life, and don’t ever think that everybody else has their happy sides 24/7.

Organising My Time – Priorities

Like most individuals, personal and family time take precedence. Mine too. However, many of my work and school activities do fall on weekends, leaving close to 0 hours to spend with my loved ones. However, it is important to make use of the 24 hours in a day. Usually, the non-family things that I have don’t take up the entire day. We often feel like reserving one activity to take charge of the entire day, which actually isn’t the best way to utilise the time at hand. I try to break the hours up, perhaps spending either the earlier or later part of the day with my family, and then going for any other activities/work that I have to attend to.

For most of my schedule, a lot of people do notice that I don’t really have an off day just for myself. That kind of sucks, and it really does whenever you need a break from the world. However, I do have those days (just that they are really rare). But I am a human being too.

So how I usually structure my schedule is that I will have a few hours of free time for me to really do what I want – watch dramas, sleep, eat, bake, cook, go out with friends… That doesn’t mean I don’t ditch my other plans to do this – I do! It’s part of being human, and that is why I structure my timetable as such.

How do I structure – Write it down?

For most part, yes. Some of my friends know that I do keep a schedule on my phone via the app Evernote. It helps me keep track of the work I have to do (especially school deadlines), work schedules, any miscellaneous tasks like applying for bursaries… It’s really comprehensive.

I often rely on writing or typing my daily activities out. It’s not surprising to find that I really rely on my daily schedules, because it helps me pace my life at a comfortable rate. I can also expect things and arrange things nicely whenever there are last minute occasions or activities. At the very least, I will attend both events, but will not spend more time on one than the other. 🙂

I utilise Evernote Plus, which is good for me, as I sometimes use the notes offline during travel. Evernote helps a lot, as the information that I type down is synced across all my devices and I can control which devices have access, if I realise that I did not log out of a foreign device. One function that I don’t utilise Evernote for is the voice recording because of the poor recording abilities from my MacBook Pro. Instead, I use Microsoft OneNote 365 (I got the software for free because of school).

Screenshot 2017-03-27 17.22.15.png

Click here to get Evernote now!

This is how the interface looks like, if anyone was wondering. One qualm that I have is that some text functions like highlight is not available on my mobile, but is available on the MacBook Pro. It can be a hassle, as I forget to highlight the days that are over… and I panic for no reason. *grumbles*

I have notes to control my finances, especially I have two upcoming trips in May and July!

*Surprise surprise!*

Inculcate the Value of SAVINGS!

Having complete control over your finances is really scary, actually. Chut chut chut, your money goes to places where you don’t expect. I dislike that – that is why I have two bank accounts. Since I was a child, I had a POSB Kids Savings that my parents set up for me for my education/savings. When I had control over my card, my savings quickly depleted as I did not inculcate the value of saving. When I realised I ran out of money faster than I could earn them, I decided to open up a second bank account, this time with OCBC Frank.

only did this in first year of uni, which is really late, but better late than never right?

The thing I absolutely liked about OCBC Frank was because of the goal setting which allows me to 1) set goals 2) freezes the money in the goals and the money in that basket is not reflected in your remaining balance when you withdraw money at the ATM! I liked it, because I could control what I could see.

You can say I am a very boros kind of person because I spend whatever money I have on hand – thinking that I will have more money later. Epppp…

So far, for 1.5 years, my account has been rather busy with inflow and outflow of cash. One thing is for sure, I keep questioning myself if I need to buy certain products. Of course, I splurge on myself from time to time (like spending $100 on ice cream this month because of stress), but having a sense of awareness has kept me on my toes. If you ask me to do this prior to having a bank card, I’d probably give you a blank stare.


Travel

Travelling is really invigorating, one must say. But don’t let it fool you, it takes a lot of effort to really find the itineraries that will fit your schedule and your budget. I’ve covered both time and money aspect, but ultimately I can only advise you on this:

Choose the locations that really attracts you. I chose East Asia and SouthEast Asia for most of my travels because they are relatively inexpensive, compared to Europe, Africa, MiddleEast/West Asia and the Americas. Not only that, there is so much to explore in Asia as a continent. There are so many ethnic groups, languages, cultures… and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of it.

I’m not saying everyone has to explore Asia, but Asia does appeal to me much more than the Americas and Europe ever did. I haven’t been to many countries outside Asia (only Norway and USA) as a teen/adult to make that judgment, but I’d rather explore home y’know?

Now enough of me rambling. I hope you enjoyed what I’ve written thus far. It’s a bit of a ramble/ranting but if you’re in the game to travel, I hope these tips have helped you in one way or another. Do leave your questions in the comments section, because I really am curious about anything you’re curious about! 🙂

Love,

Nazira

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