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The Art of Juggling by Blake McManus

According to Boston College Professor Arthur Lewbel, the earliest documented depiction of juggling can be traced to the tomb of an unknown Egyptian prince from approximately 1994 B.C. Over 4,000 years later, the modern art of juggling is comprised of the various facets of life, and the difficulty of tossing the metaphorical spheres is exponentially greater.

Many professionals find that maintaining a work/life balance is a difficult task, but the additional responsibility of pursuing an MBA poses a unique challenge. As I embarked on the journey over two years ago, I was cognizant of the challenges of maintaining equilibrium in the many aspects of my life. As time progressed, I adapted my balancing act to satisfy all of my obligations, and I am now at the conclusion of my performance.

While intermittently missing workouts or forgoing a weekend fishing trip have been relatively painless concessions, other sacrifices have pressed me to the limits. Indeed, arriving home from work and plunging into an online business strategy simulation is an arduous task. Alternatively, achieving productivity at your occupation can be problematic when you spent the previous evening combing through the financial statements of Berkshire Hathaway. The foundation of my approach to incorporating graduate school into my repertoire is effective prioritization and adopting a proactive stance with coursework.

By designating an allotment of time for each area of my life, I am able to prioritize my responsibilities. Specifically, I strive to complete my coursework over the weekend, I attempt to spend non-class evenings maintaining my personal life, and I obviously work during the week. While there are times when I am required to alter my approach, I have found that this principle of time allocation is fundamental in achieving symmetry in the broad scope of my life.

As I indicated, I attempt to complete all of my assignments over the weekend. I hold this position because I find it strenuous to produce quality results after working hours. Because of this, I operate under the assumption that the majority of my weekend could be dedicated to my goal of earning an MBA. While I have seldom spent an entire weekend on coursework, I have never cancelled plans or submitted incomplete assignments because I improperly managed my time. By proactively devoting ample time to achieving my objective, I am able to attain results consistent with my expectations while operating within the time frame that I deem appropriate.

While instituting time parameters and taking a proactive approach is a solid foundation, you will inevitably find yourself in some perplexing situation over the course of the program. With accomplished instructors, free tutoring sessions, and your cohorts, the CMBA program affords each candidate with ample resources for success. As I progressed through the program, I developed strong relationships with professors, tutors, and my cohorts, and by conferring with them on challenging assignments I was able to overcome any obstacles to learn and apply the subject matter.

While allowing yourself sufficient time for assignments is imperative, it is equally significant to set aside time for your personal life. I designate the evening following a class as well as Friday nights as personal time. In doing so, I avoid becoming overwhelmed, and I am also able to approach my assignments with a fresh viewpoint when I begin them.

Finally, a disciplined approach in the workplace is essential. If you allow it, procrastination can become a pitfall and performing your job at the highest level can be difficult if you are preoccupied with marketing strategies. However, focusing solely on work at the office enables me to perform my duties, and the balance achieved in the other aspects of my life affords me the energy to find success in the workplace.

While pursuing an MBA initially seemed like a Herculean task, I now realize that I was already juggling my various responsibilities. By taking on the challenge of earning an MBA, I simply added another ball to the juggling routine. While it is a difficult act to maintain, prioritization and a proactive attitude has enabled me to continue, and the success that follows is a fulfilling reward.

Blake McManus


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