Life at times can be all-consuming. However, so can studying for the
EPPP and it can quickly become overwhelming to think how one might come to balance both. One of my favorite professors once told me “You can have all things in life, just not all things all at the same time.” This statement always resonated with me. To obtain professional growth, one must sacrifice at times, but how do you know when you get to the point of sacrificing too much? Where do you draw the limit? I like to often think about time as a pie chart. Sometimes, like with the EPPP, certain things will take a greater slice of the pie, however this must be balanced out over time. It is incredibly important to consistently check in with yourself on how you are managing life balance during your time studying for the EPPP. It is recommended that you commit to studying approximately 15-20 hours each week. That’s quite a bit of time. If you add a full-time job and parenting into the mix, you can quickly feel overstretched. Each day think about your time like a pie chart. Some things will be fixed such as work. Others might be a bit more flexible and unpredictable. Maybe you have a work meeting that gets cancelled. Look at these moments as opportunities to make greater use of your time. Bring your study materials to work with you so you can sneak in an extra hour. If you have a day where you notice more time goes to studying, consider how you might re-distribute your time the next day, spending it with family and loved ones. There will be points in time where sacrifices happen. You might miss a family get together. Early on, consider what family events or times are non-negotiable and factor that into your study plan. If your grandmother’s 90th birthday party falls in your 3-month study plan, work around it and prioritize that event. That may mean having to make smaller sacrifices the week before such as missing your daughter’s dance practice. Set limits with yourself and with others. There will be several instances along your study journey that will tempt you. You will find yourself saying things such as “I can just catch up later” or “I will just put more time in next week.” Be true and honest with yourself. Is that likely to happen? In the end, the EPPP will become just a memory. Consider the ways in which passing the exam will result in greater time flexibility for you and your family in the future. For example, it might mean you are able to start your own practice and create your own work schedule. Use this as motivation to set limits when needed. Remember - this is only temporary. The more consistent you are in protecting your study time, the more progress you will make. You will then be free to use that 20 hours per week towards what you want (hobbies, socializing, family, etc.) Finally, share your study plan with your family. Not only will this provide you greater accountability, but it will also allow fewer potential disruptions and temptations. If your family knows that you study every night from 5-7pm, they will be less likely to disrupt you during this time and may even ask you why you are not studying if you start to fall off track. Use your family as support and let them be your cheerleaders. Think of your family as a team backing you in this goal. Instead of feeling disconnected from your family, you may start to feel as though passing the EPPP will be a success for everyone on your “team”.